A jaded Graeme McDowell had every reason to ask himself why he’d entered The McGladrey Classic after a roller coaster 70 left him seven shots off the pace and tied 78th on the Seaside Course at Sea Island.
Trying to build on his third place finish in the Dunhill Links and stay sharp for the start of a six-tournament run at Valderrama later this month, the 32-year old’s level par effort was a combination on the good, the bad and the ugly.
Webb Simpson, $68,971 behind Luke Donald in the race for the money title, shot a seven under 63 to share the lead with little known Zack Miller.
That will undoubtedly force world No 1 Donald to enter next week’s final event of the season in Orlando as he bids to become the first man to top the money list on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season.
McDowell is simply trying to turn a bad season into an acceptable one but he made a mess of the 18th, clocking up his second double bogey six of the day after a pulled second, to undo what was a spirited comeback from a poor start.
Three over after just four holes after a bogey at the third and double bogey at the next, McDowell came up with the perfect reply when he spun a 103-yard wedge back into the hole for an eagle two at the fifth.
He then birdied the eighth, 10th and 15th to get to two under par but took four to get down from 36 yards left of the 18th.
McDowell wasn’t the only frustrated globetrotter on show. Rickie Fowler, who saw off Rory McIlroy to win his maiden professional title in the Korea Open on Sunday, struggled to a three over 73.