Graeme McDowell was shoved out of the limelight by Adam Scott and Ian Poulter as they hogged the top two spots in the Barclays Singapore Open.
But the in-form Ulsterman is looking forward to the weekend and reckons he’s playing well enough to punch another sizeable hole in Martin Kaymer’s lead at the top of the Race to Dubai standings.
After carding a three under 68 in the second round on the Tanjong course to trail Scott (65) by three strokes and Poulter (63) by two on nine-under par, the Portrush man appears satisfied that things are humming along nicely in his bid for a $1 million pay-day.
“I’ve had a really solid start here in Singapore,” he told his fans on Facebook and Twitter. “Plenty of birdies, and hopefully more to follow. I’m feeling good, playing better and up for another big weekend. Fingers crossed I’m right up that leaderboard come Sunday afternoon. Bring it on!!!”
Following Thursday’s weather delay, 31 player must wait until Saturday morning to complete their second rounds, including Irishmen Damien McGrane, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley
With the cut looking likely to fall at three under par, McGrane needs to play his last three holes in level to make the weekend. But things look tougher for Harrington and Clarke and impossible for McGinley.
Four over through 15 holes for his second round on the Serapong, Clarke must pick up two shots over his last three holes while Harrington needs to play his last three on the same track in one-under to make the three-under mark on the number.
As for McGinley, the potential 2014 Ryder Cup captain will be taking the weekend off as he sits on seven over, two over for his second round, with just six holes to play.
McDowell was once again the star performer in the Irish contingent, though he would have liked to have gone lower than 68 after reeling off birdies at his first four holes.
A bogey at the fifth saw him turn in 33 and he could only manage level par on the back nine as he followed a birdie two at the 13th with a bogey at the next to finish the day tied for third with Sweden’s Fredrik Andersson Hed, South Korea’s Kang Kyung-nam and Holland’s Joost Luiten.
Ranked 92nd in the Race to Dubai standings, McDowell’s former Walker Cup partner Michael Hoey fired a 67 on the Tanjong to move up 46 places to tied 15th on six under, giving himself a chance to edge closer to the top-60 who qualify for the Dubai World Championship.
Hoey is tied with left-hander Phil Mickelson, who was frustrated with his 69 on the tougher Serapong layout.
“It was more challenging today with the wind, but I was able to shoot a couple under par,” Mickelson said. “The most challenging thing for me will always be these greens as they’re very difficult to read and putt.
“I gave myself a lot of chances for birdies, but I just didn’t get close enough to make a lot. But I played fairly steady and gave myself a chance for the weekend.”
Gareth Maybin failed to match the fireworks of his opening 65 as he posted a one over 72 on the Serapong to fall back to tied 26th on five under, seven shots behind two-time Singapore winner Scott.
Peter Lawrie shot an even par 71 on the Serapong to slip back to tied 40th on four under. But it was a great day for Shane Lowry, who needs two big weeks to move into the top 60 in the Race to Dubai.
Ranked 62nd, the Clara man hit a five under 66 on the Tanjong to sit just inside the cut mark on three under.
On a negative note, Kilkenny’s Gary Murphy can now pencil his name for the second stage of the Q-School later this month as he missed the cut.
The former Irish champion needed a top-five finish to save his card but after an opening 79, he crashed out on nine over following a second round 72.