McDowell fancies Chinese takeaway

By Brian Keogh

Portrush powerhouse Graeme McDowell believes he can end his three-year winning drought in China this weekend.

A second consecutive 70 left the Ulsterman just five shots off the halfway lead in the Volvo China Open in Shanghai.

But the two-time European Tour winner, 27, is convinced that he is playing well enough to close the gap on leader Raphael Jacquelin and grab his first win since the 2004 Italian Open.

Tied for sixth place with Damien McGrane, he said: "I'm reasonably happy with two under. And I feel I've got a lot left in the tank this weekend.

"I haven't quite played to my expectations yet but hopefully I'm saving that for the weekend.

"I haven't hit the ball fantastically well, especially off the tees. I only hit three fairways yesterday and I think seven today so that was a little better."

McGrane joined McDowell on two under after adding a 69 to his opening 71.

And the Knightsbrook pro is happy with his position after another battling performance at Silport Golf Club.

McGrane said: "I'm pleased. I was in the rough a lot, which never helps, but I managed to get out of there and onto the greens and make my pars.

"If you can do that you've got a chance."

Gary Murphy and Peter Lawrie are also in the top 20 after rounds on 69 and 71 left them on one over par.

But they will need to go low today to catch Jacquelin, who took advantage of calm early conditions to fire a four under par 67 to lead by two shots from Aussie Adam Blyth.

Jacquelin said: "When we started at 7.10am, it was dead calm. I was lucky enough to make three birdies at the start and I was playing really well.

"Like yesterday I made two bogeys at the end but that is the game, especially on this course in these conditions."