Graeme McDowell misses cut in France

Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell admitted he needs to “clear his mind” after his bid for a third successive Alstom Open de France title came to an ignominious early end on Friday.

McDowell was one of 42 players unable to complete their opening rounds on schedule at Le Golf National after thunderstorms on Thursday resulted in a delay of almost two-and-a-half hours.

The former US Open champion had just one hole remaining when play resumed at 0730 local time yesterday and made par on the 18th to complete an opening 72 and lie just four shots off the lead.

However, after a short break McDowell was back out on the course which will stage the 2018 Ryder Cup and slumped to a second round of 78, his worst score in 32 rounds at the venue.

Fellow countryman Michael Hoey is tied for 45th on three over par after carding a second round 73 while Darren Clarke missed the cut on 12 over par following a second round 79.

McDowell was left disappointed at how his second round had gone.

“I struggled to get on the fairway mainly and, as firm and as fast as this course is, if you’re not hitting the fairway you have a bit of a problem getting close to the flag,” said McDowell, whose sole top-10 finish on the European Tour this season came in the Dubai Desert Classic back in February.

“It’s just a bad first nine both days. I rescued it coming in last night but it was a fast turnaround from a 9pm finish last night to an early start this morning’

“I just didn’t come out of the blocks this morning at all.

“It’s very disappointing, this course has been so good to me over the years, just not to be this year.

“It’s a work in progress, I’ll keep grinding and it’s a big summer ahead.”

McDowell, who missed the cut on eight over par after a round containing two double bogeys, three bogeys and no birdies added; “I have a lot of technique in my head to be honest and I have to strip that out; I’ve got to get back to basics and try to clear the mind.

“I’ve been working too hard on trying to get the technique fixed and been making it worse. I know it’s in there; you take the rough with the smooth and it’s been a great three or four years. I will dig this out and I’ll be back.”

At the other end of the leaderboard, McDowell’s Ryder Cup partner Victor Dubuisson - the pair won both of their foursomes matches together at Gleneagles - shared the halfway lead with Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello on four under par.

Home favourite Dubuisson held a two-shot lead when he followed a birdie on the fifth by holing his approach to the next from 107 yards for an eagle, but carded three bogeys and one birdie in the last 11 holes in a round of 70.

“There were two shots I hit on eight and nine that finished in a bad spot and made bogeys there and on this course it can turn really bad, but I made a great par on 10 and nice birdie on 12 and I’m very happy with how I played today,” Dubuisson said.

“I’m very excited about the weekend but on this course you can easily make mistakes so I will have to play well again tomorrow.”

Former champion Kaymer, who missed the cut in defence of his US Open title at Chambers Bay, found water with his approach to the 15th to card a double bogey, but recovered in style with his fourth birdie of the day on the 18th to return a second consecutive 69.