On a day of survival at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral, Graeme McDowell carded a superb one under par 71 to move inside the top five.
The 2010 US Open winner called on all his links experience gained at Royal Portrush to move into contention on a day when strong winds ruined many scorecards.
“It’s brutal out there. I can’t remember playing in stronger winds,” said McDowell, who finished the day just one shot off the lead.
“On a golf course this new and this firm, this was always going to be the danger. You can’t fault the golf course.
“The way it has been put together, they have done an amazing job. Let’s be honest, this wind across last year’s golf course would have been brutal as well.
“You can’t put any blame on the golf course set-up. It’s simply very difficult conditions.
“It got to the point late in my first nine holes when i was a bit like, ‘this is getting borderline playable’.
“I was also getting to the point were I was 50/50 about them calling it at off because I had played so many holes I wanted to make sure the guys behind me were getting to play as many holes as I did in the tough conditions.
“It was just about playable, lets put it that way. I can’t remember playing in much tougher conditions this side of the pond.”
Northern Irish compatriot Rory McIlroy finished the day tied for fifth after bouncing back from a disappointing front nine.
McIlroy was four over for the round as he reached the turn, but three birdies and just one bogey in the back nine saw him finish the day on two over – and level par for the tournament.
Four Americans share the lead at the halfway stage – Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan the only players under par at one under.
World number one Tiger Woods was left labouring on five over par for the tournament after another frustrating day in Miami.
Woods carded a one over par round of 73, while Australia’s Adam Scott sits just one shot better off after a one over par round.
Scott sits four over for the tournament.