G-Mac in control; Padraig still edgy
 Graeme McDowell. Picture © Getty Images

Graeme McDowell. Picture © Getty Images

Graeme McDowell wielded his putter like a wand to fire a second consecutive round of 67 for a a three shot lead over Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter in the WGC-HSBC Champions.

But while Pádraig Harrington continues to improve with the blade and battles to recover consistency in his chipping, he still showed some signs of frailty on the greens despite opening with a two under 70 to share 27th in the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi.

While Harrington played nicely and putted well early on, holing four birdie putts to move into the top five through 11 holes, he bogeyed the par-three 13th after a clumsy chip and then missed a three footer for his par five at the 14th.

Playing on sponsors invitations as he bids to win back his PGA Tour card, Harrington parred his way home to finish the day five shots adrift of Denmark's Sebastian Cappelen at the Country Club of Jackson.

McDowell was far more clinical with the putter in China, making several clutch putts for par in a bogey-free five under par effort that left him three clear of Ian Poulter on 10 under par and four in front of American Bubba Watson (67) and Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata (65).

Poulter and Watson both enjoyed strong finishes, the latter birdieing the last five holes and the former picking up shots on four of the closing five.

McDowell has enjoyed a fine record in World Golf Championship events during the past two seasons, finishing in the top ten in six of his last seven appearances, although he is yet to win a WGC title.

“The putter was fairly hot today," McDowell said. "I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday; I missed a lot more fairways, which is a big key on this golf course.

"You must find fairways to have a chance out there. I got lucky a couple of times and I made some good saves. The greens are fantastic here at Sheshan and I managed to make some putts. It wasn’t my best ball-striking round but I hung in there and I’m right where I want to be going into the weekend.

"The WGCs are a special tier of events and this has always been one that I’ve had my eye on. This is a world-class field and they are bunching up behind me. I’ve just got to keep the pedal down and position myself for Sunday to have a sniff on the back nine.”

Shane Lowry undid some of damage of Thursday's 78 with a 69 that moved him up 22 paces to tied 49th on three over.

The Clara man, ranked 51st in the world, needs a Top-10 finish to break into the Top-50 this week and put himself in the frame for a Masters debut if he can remain there until the end of the year.

Round 2 scores:

134 G McDowell  (Nir) 67 67, 

137 I Poulter (Eng) 70 67, 

138 B Watson (USA) 71 67, H Iwata (Jpn) 73 65, 

139 K Na (USA) 71 68, T Clark (RSA) 69 70, J Blixt  (Swe) 71 68, R Fowler  (USA) 69 70, 

140 T Olesen (Den) 72 68, L Oosthuizen  (RSA) 70 70, 

141 O Wilson (Eng) 71 70, M Kaymer (Ger) 69 72, J Holmes (USA) 70 71, H Stenson (Swe) 70 71, 

142 J Dufner (USA) 72 70, H Mahan  (USA) 74 68, A Scott  (Aus) 70 72, A Levy (Fra) 74 68, J Walker  (USA) 73 69, D Van Der Walt (RSA) 70 72, 

143 C Kirk (USA) 69 74, M Leishman (Aus) 72 71, J Rose (Eng) 72 71, B Snedeker  (USA) 69 74, H Matsuyama  (Jpn) 74 69, L Westwood (Eng) 70 73, 

144 J Spieth  (USA) 70 74, A Lahiri (Ind) 74 70, E Els (RSA) 74 70, T Fleetwood  (Eng) 69 75, S Gallacher (Sco) 72 72, K Hyung-Sung (Kor) 70 74, W Ashun (Chn) 74 70, B Haas  (USA) 70 74, P Reed (USA) 71 73, M Siem  (Ger) 72 72, 

145 B Todd (USA) 71 74, G Coetzee (RSA) 72 73, J Van Zyl (RSA) 70 75, R Moore  (USA) 74 71, K Bradley (USA) 72 73, 

146 R Henley (USA) 71 75, H Otto (RSA) 74 72, S Garcia  (Esp) 74 72, J Senden (Aus) 73 73, L Donald  (Eng) 74 72, R Palmer (USA) 74 72, D Fichardt (RSA) 74 72, 

147 T Jaidee (Tha) 71 76, M Warren (Sco) 75 72, M Every  (USA) 75 72, P Larrazábal (Esp) 75 72, T Bjørn (Den) 72 75, L Hao-Tong (Chn) 75 72, S Lowry  (Irl) 78 69, 

148 G Woodland (USA) 73 75, J Luiten (Ned) 77 71, J Donaldson (Wal) 71 77, 

149 K Streelman (USA) 77 72, L Wen-Chong (Chn) 75 74, H Mu (Chn) 78 71, D Ze-Cheng (Chn) 76 73, Z Lianwei (Chn) 73 76, 

150 S Stallings (USA) 74 76, C Schwartzel  (RSA) 74 76, F Aguilar (Chi) 76 74, 

151 D Lipsky (USA) 78 73, M Hendry (Nzl) 76 75, M Jones (Aus) 75 76, M Ilonen  (Fin) 75 76, 

152 J Knutzon (USA) 78 74, 

153 V Dubuisson  (Fra) 76 77, M Jiménez (Esp) 78 75, 

155 Y Takeya (Jpn) 77 78, A Lascuna (Phi) 76 79, 

157 B Horschel (USA) 80 77, 

164 J Jeong (Kor) 85 79, 

176 B Ninyette (Aus) 86 90, 

RET K Stadler (USA) RT  0, G Delaet (Can) RT  0,