Graeme McDowell in praise for leader Kevin Stadler after impressive round at Alstom Open de France

Graeme McDowell is tied for fourth
Graeme McDowell is tied for fourth

Defending champion Graeme McDowell was quick to acknowledge Kevin Stadler’s superb performance on day two of the Alstom Open de France.

American Stadler celebrated Independence Day by setting the clubhouse target, but was left to rue an ugly finish to his round.

Stadler carded a flawless opening 64 at Le Golf National and did not drop his first shot of the tournament until his 32nd hole at the 2018 Ryder Cup venue.

But after bouncing back in style with birdies on the next two holes, the world number 62 shanked his approach to the par-five ninth – his final hole – to run up a double-bogey seven.

And the display earned rave reviews from Portrush star McDowell – who sits tied for fourth on three under par.

“It’s Kevin’s type of golf course and if he keeps playing like that he’s going to be tough to catch, but I feel like three under is not a bad return for the last two days and if I can go low tomorrow and get myself back into it, who knows?”

Meanwhile, Michael Hoey hit five birdies in six holes, posting a fine round of 66 to move alongside McDowell in a tie for sixth.

After hitting a two over par round on Thursday, Hoey bounced back to form yesterday with a birdie on the 11th hole followed by consecutive birdies on the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes.

Padraig Harrington missed the cut after finishing on five over par, with Damian McGrane progressing into the weekend after finishing on one under.