Shane Lowry might be just four shots off the lead but Graeme McDowell still believes he can mount a weekend charge and come from eight back in the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan.
Lowry carded a second successive 69 to get to share sixth place on four-under par as Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño (68-66) moved into a one stroke lead on eight under after a day of heavy rain at the Phoenix Country Club.
The Spaniard won the weather-delayed Barclays Singapore Open in a Monday play-off to end a three-year victory drought. But while Lowry is chasing his first win since he captured the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur, McDowell is not giving up hope of earning his first win this year.
It’s going to take something special from the world No 14, who was eight shots off the pace and tied for 25th after a pair of 71’s.
Hoping for an improvement in his driving, McDowell said: “Today was a tough day. When it’s raining so heavily the balls squirts off the face of the driver. Given the conditions, even par was respectable.
“In fact, I played a lot better today than I did yesterday. I’m not driving it great but my putting felt a lot better. I’m eight behind and I’m going to need two good rounds over the weekend, but I still have a chance so the goal is to try and get to at least 10 under and see what happens.”
Lowry seemed pleased with his efforts, tweeting: “Siesta time after another decent days golf here in Japan. Pity the weather was awful. #feelslikehome.”
McDOwell’s hopes of a comeback were dampened by the weather. At 1:41 am Irish time, he tweeted: “Play cancelled here in Japan. 54 hole tournament. Second week in a row Castano leads thru 36 holes and 3rd round washed out. #raindance”