Madrid Masters

McDowell needs big finish in Madrid

Graeme McDowell will need one of the lowest final rounds of his career today if he is to end his two-year victory drought and make a significant move in the race to retain his Ryder Cup place.

The 30-year old from Portrush, who is more than €400,000 outside the nine automatic places in Colin Montgomerie’s European team, posted a frustrating two-under par 70 on moving day in the Madrid Masters to go into the final round six shots behind leaders Luke Donald and Rhys Davies on 10 under par.

McDowell chasing Donald in Madrid

Luke Donald is seeking his first win for four years in the Madrid MastersThe Spanish sunshine failed to brightened Sergio Garcia’s mood as he missed hit first cut on European soil for six years in the Madrid Masters.

But while the former world No 2 was left to wonder what fate awaits him when he returns for the US Open in a fortnight, Ireland’s Graeme McDowell was enjoying his golf again after being freed from the shackles of the world rankings earlier this week.

Murphy's law - forget the dark side

There's nothing like a crisis to concentrate the mind but Gary Murphy has managed to avoid thinking about "the dark side" in the Madrid Masters and made a positive start.

Damien McGrane and Gary Murphy are tied for ninth in the Madrid MastersWith time running out in his bid to save his tour card, the Kilkenny man opened with a five under par 67 at the Centro Nacional de Golf by simply focussing on his game rather than the grim reality of his situation.

"I would be lying it I said I wasn't thinking about stuff off the course," Murphy confessed.

McGinley hit by hand injury

And Paul McGinley thought that everything was looking up. Now he's facing an anxious wait on the results of an MRI on a hand injury that could hamper his bid to rack up some Ryder Cup points before Christmas.

Two weeks ago, McGinley was riding the crest of a wave at the Vivendi Trophy in Paris, where he rubber-stamped his credentials as the only viable candidate for the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy by leading Britain and Ireland to an impressive victory over a strong Continental Europe side led by Thomas 'The Diplomat' Bjorn.