He was many people’s top tip to lift the Claret Jug at the start of the week but, just 18 holes in, Graeme McDowell has got it all to do to salvage his Open bid.
The 2010 US Open champion, above with caddie Ken Comboy, slumped to a disappointing two-over 74 in benign conditions on day one at Royal Liverpool, birdies at the fifth and 18th being the sole highlights of his day. Even so, he did his best to remain upbeat on his prospects of wrestling his way back into the championship.
“The toys are not coming out of the pram right at this second,” said McDowell, who won the French Open two weeks ago. “It’s just one round. It’s a tough little golf course and I just didn’t hit it in the fairway enough.
“I feel like if I can get my iron play a bit closer, I can hole some putts. Disappointed. I’d love something better.”
With just a gentle breeze brushing the links of the second oldest golf course in England, and the sun splitting the sky most of the day, low scores were definitely out there to be had. That might not be the case over the next couple of days, however. A change in wind direction and some showers are in the forecast for tomorrow, with torrential, thundery showers expected to rain down on Saturday.
"Level-par or one-under sort of gets me back in the mix a little bit tomorrow night." - Graeme McDowell
As far as McDowell’s concerned, though, the bad weather can’t come soon enough.
“I’m needing some windy conditions right now, so bring it on,” said the 34-year-old. “If there were three more days of sunshine and no much wind, I’d pretty much be writing myself off right at this second, being eight or nine shots back.
“But with the conditions they’re forecasting the next couple of days, particularly tomorrow, it means that I don’t have to go and beat myself up today. I can prepare myself for the conditions tomorrow and level-par or one-under sort of gets me back in the mix a little bit tomorrow night. So that’s kind of what I’m trying to tell myself right now.”
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