McDowell rues Thursday errors

Graeme McDowell celebrates one of his birdies on Saturday at Hoylake. Picture Eoin Clarke

Graeme McDowell was left to rue his opening 74 after a super 68 left him just outside the Top 10 at Royal Liverpool.

Barring an implosion by Rory McIlroy and the rest of the leaders, the 2010 US Open champion knows he’s playing for pride and Ryder Cup points as he starts the day tied for 12th with Darren Clarke— 11 shots behind Rory McIlroy.

G-Mac said: “Rory's two 66s would've been tough to live the first two days. But there's no doubt I'm rueing the 74 on Thursday in probably the easiest conditions that we've seen so far this week.”

Disappointed initially that there was two-tee start yesterday, he confessed that it made no difference in the ned as the bad weather failed to materialise

Speaking before a huge deluge hit the course, he said: “Getting out a few hours in front of the leaders can often be an advantage if the wind was to get up. As it's turned out really, it's probably not going to make that much difference.

“Normally, you might get a little wind in the afternoon puffing up and get out there and the morning and try and post a number, but didn't really get that opportunity today. It didn't matter much.

“The decision to play two tees kind of looks a little interesting now as the sun might be cracking the flags this afternoon, and there will be no one on the golf course. But better to be safe than sorry.”

Targeting a good finish, McDowell said of his round: “It gives me a good shot at something tomorrow. I’m just hoping to post another low number and take some good confidence from the last couple of days.”

Starting at the first, McDowell got off to a slow start in heavy rain, missing a short birdie putt at the first and another for par at the second.

After following a birdie at the sixth with a bogey at the eighth, he then caught fire on the back for the second day running, rattling off five birdies in a homeward 32.

“I hit the ball much better again yesterday, and continued that today,” he said. 

“The first three or four holes were very wet and nasty. I missed a short one on the first and bogeyed the second, kind of got off to a slow one. 

“And kind of went at the flag on 8 and plugged it in the bunker, and made the turn at one-over again. 

“But the back nine has been kind to me the last two days in much more benign conditions.”