Graeme McDowell is not in panic mode despite making a slow start. Picture Fran Caffrey www.newsfile.ieGraeme McDowell wishes he could go back in time after a killer double bogey derailed his opening round.

The hometown favourite racked up a seven at the 17th when his lob wedge from 90 yards skidded through the green into bushes and he lost the ball.

And while he battled back for a one under 71 and insisted he wasn’t “pushing any panic buttons”, he knows he can’t afford another average day if he’s to grab a dream victory.

G-Mac said: “I am not going to start chasing tomorrow but I am going to have to play well from here on.

“I’ve got a little bit of work to do but three good round and one great round is going to win this weekend. So this one of my okay rounds out of the way.

“I am not pushing any panic buttons. I did the hard part playing the first seven in two under in the tougher conditions.

“Standing in the middle of the 17th fairway, I just wish I could go back in time. I got a little aggressive with my yardage off a wet fairway and said, ‘Oh no, what have you done!’

“I have a lobber from 90 yards to the pin an I can only move that lobber 95 and it has just sprung out of the fairway a little bit. Lost a ball. Just a killer blow to my round.

“I’ve lost plenty of balls around this course but with a lob wedge in my hands….? Phew.”

McDowell hit back with birdies at the second and fourth but three-putted the seventh to slip back to one under.

The bright point of his day was the amazing atmosphere and massive crowds.

He said: “It felt great. The crowds are fantastic - ten-deep down every fairway and had great receptions on every green.

“The Irish Opens over the past few years have been incredible but this one is cranked up a notch. It’s special.”