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McDowell opens one shot lead despite air-shot
December 2, 2011

World number 14 Graeme McDowell snatched a one-stroke lead in the Sun City Challenge on Friday despite playing an air shot during his second round at the $5 million invitational event.

The 2010 U.S. Open champion fired a five-under-par 67 for a seven-under tally of 137, one ahead of world number three Lee Westwood (70), fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer (68), American Jason Dufner (68) and Swede Robert Karlsson (69).

McDowell picked up four birdies in five holes around the turn but found a bush off the tee at the par-five 14th.

His club then bounced off a rock as he attempted to hack his ball back on to the fairway at the Gary Player Country Club.

McDowell made it to the fairway with his third shot but his fourth landed in a bunker and he eventually took a double-bogey seven.

However, the 32-year-old Briton hit back in style by sinking 20-foot birdie putts at the 16th and 18th.

"It was a very calm and quiet front nine and an exciting back nine," McDowell told reporters. "I tugged my drive on 14, I was kind of trying to steer it down there but pulled it into the bush.

"Then I made contact about an inch behind the ball, hit the rock and my club just bounced right over the top. It was interesting because my caddie called it before I hit the shot, he said, 'Be careful your club does not bounce off that rock'."

Dufner, making his debut in the elite 12-man tournament, was pleased with his position.

"It is a bit of a learning curve for me but I think I am learning pretty well as we go," Dufner told reporters. "I was on the right side of the holes and was able to attack some of them."

U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, the only South African in the field, struggled to a 74 for 142 after making a double-bogey six at the eighth where he lost his ball off the tee.

Second round scores:

137 Graeme McDowell 70 67

138 Robert Karlsson 69 69, Jason Dufner 70 68, Martin Kaymer 70 68, Lee Westwood 68 70

140 Simon Dyson 70 70, Kyung-Tae Kim 70 70

141 Anders Hansen 72 69

142 Charl Schwartzel 68 74, Luke Donald 70 72

143 Darren Clarke 74 69

149 Francesco Molinari 72 77

 

 








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