McDowell comes back to earth

Globe-trotter Graeme McDowell crashed back to earth in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand.

The Ulsterman, who flew 18 hours from the PGA Tour in Mexico to tee it up, slipped from sixth overnight to 51st after a lacklustre 76 in scorching Phuket.

His one under par total was still good enough to make the cut with a shot spare alongside Knightsbrook's Damien McGrane and faltering superstar Ernie Els

But his chances of a first European Tour win for nearly three years look remote after he finished nine shots behind leader Oliver Wilson.

Mansfield native Wilson fired two eagles in a six under par 66 to lead by a shot from big-hitting South African Anton Haig at Blue Canyon Country Club.

But Wilson, who lives in Augusta after a successful US college career, insists that he won't be looking over his shoulder for two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, who moved to within two shots of him on eight under thanks to a solid 68.

Wilson said: "I've been working on a few mental things, trying to stay relaxed and enjoy it all. If I can keep that up, who knows what will happen.

"It's so hot out there, but I don't really care about it. I'm not intimidated by good players.

"I don't want to be thinking about them or other things. The cream will always rise to the top. They will be chasing me."

Haig, 20, posted a course record 64 that featured an eagle, seven birdies and just one bogey.

McDowell was pleasantly surprised to open with a 67 after a marathon journey to Thailand from Cancun.

But he could only manage one birdie, on the par five 10th, and was left to regret some poor driving and five bogeys.

It was also a bad day for Castleknock's Peter Lawrie, who missed the cut by a massive five shots after a 74.

Two under par through seven holes, Lawrie needed to play the remainder in four under to make the weeknd.

But while he birdied the 390 yard 13th, bogeys at the eighth, 12th, 14th, 16th and 18th cost him weekend employment

Ryder Cup star Paul Casey also missed the level par cut after a double bogey seven left him with a disappointing 75.