Clarke and McDowell blown away

By Brian Keogh

Ulster star Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke were blown away at Fota Island - by the weather and the officials.

McDowell and Clarke were give a time warning at the ninth and finished tied on five under after carding two over par 73s.

A time warning from tour official David Probyn upset their rhythm and they played the last ten holes in a combined six over.

Clarke said: "I'm surprised we were warned because it was blowing and raining but we have rules and I abide my that.

"I had a few chances to get going but after making bogey on nine I was gone."

Clarke was two under for the round and McDowell was one under when Probyn warned them that they were losing ground on the group in front.

Clarke added: "That's the first time ever that's happened to me. I was doing okay until the ninth, then found my ball in a sand-filled divot just off the left of the fairway and I was just deliberating on what to do with it.

"I hit it and came up short, made bogey and then got a bad time from David Probyn. After that I lost my rhythm and couldn't get back into it."

Clarke went on to make three bogeys in a row from the 11th as McDowell lost a ball on the 10th.

"I had chances to get to 13 under," said Clarke. "But I made poor swings and lost my rhythm. I shouldn't have had that sort of reaction and been more professional. We were on the clock from the sixth but it didn't feel as if we were going that slow."

McDowell was also upset with the warning and finished up a little disappointed with his score.

He said: "Darren mentioned to me that we were on the clock on the seventh hole. Then we both got a bad time on nine and it put us both off and I hit a bad tee shot on the tenth and lost a ball.

"I guess it upset us a little bit. Darren made three bogeys straight we were rushing and couldn't get anything going at all.

"Forty seconds to hit a shot is not a long time and it was a grind out there."

Constant rain and strong winds made conditions difficult and neither man was able to get comfortable.

McDowell said: "A 73 wasn't what I had in mind going out but it was a different golf course today. On the 15th I hit a drive and a wedge in the second round and today it was a drive and a two iron. It was pretty brutal at times."

McDowell knows that he still has a lot to learn but he hopes to make another cut in The K Club this week.

He said: "I have to cut out the mistakes. Theses guys don't hit it any better than me, their best shots. I've just got to play smarter and hit to the middle for the greens. I know I can play with these guys now.

"But we have policies to speed up play and I have to abide by that. It's the first time ever I have been told I had a bad time. It's a pity because I was doing nicely up to that at two under."