Graeme McDowell felt he was close to a “big result” when he left Isleworth for Bay Hill earlier this week.
He got the first part right. The quadruple bogey eight he carded on the 18th in the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational was certainly big but the result was that he carded a four over par 76 and missed the cut by two shots in his final warm up for the Masters. Ouch.
Once again it was the short game, his achilles heel, that cost him dear.
Three under for his round through seven holes and threatening the leaders at four under for the tournament, he lost the plot completely by playing the last 11 holes in seven over par.
He bogeyed the eighth by taking three to get down from the rough left of the green and dropped another shot at the ninth where he failed to get up and down from the rear greenside bunker.
Another shot went at the 206-yard 14th, where he came up 13 feet short with his chip from rough just short of the green and missed the putt.
In fairness to the Portrush man, he got up and down from sand to save par at the 15th. Indeed, missing the cut did not look possible when he hit the par-five 16th in two and two putted from 42 feet for a welcome birdie.
But there was a sting in the tail that will not have done much for his confidence in his short game heading to Augusta National.
At the 17th, he hit a 215 yard tee shot to 28 feet, raced his birdie putt seven feet past the hole and came up nearly three feet short with his par putt. Bogey.
But what happened at the 458-yard 18th was painful for anyone to watch.
A 286 yard drive left him in the middle of the fairway but he bunkered his 180 yard approach left of the green and failed to get out at the first attempt.
He then fired his fourth shot 16 yards past the pin, over the green into the rough from where he chipped to 12 feet and three putted again. The PGA Tour’s Shot Tracker service reported that McDowell left his double bogey putt 20 inches short and missed the tiddler.
At the business end of the leaderboard, Ernie Els recovered from a shaky start to card a three under par 69 and tie for the lead on seven-under with American trio D.J Trahan, Ben Curtis and Davis Love III.