McDowell fades after punishing schedule
Fri, 26 Nov 13:43:00 2010
A punishing sequence of five successive tournament appearances finally took its toll on Graeme McDowell on Friday as his hopes of winning the European Tour money-list all but vanished into the Arabian night.
The Briton, second in the money-list needing to overturn a deficit of 290,000 euros (£245,000) on German Martin Kaymer, made a good start to his Dubai World Championship second round with three early birdies before coming unstuck around the turn.
"I was in the middle of the eighth fairway with an eight-iron in my hands and missed the green right and made bogey," a frustrated McDowell said after fading to a 73 for a one-over total of 145 in the season finale.
"In the middle of the ninth fairway I had a seven-iron in my hand, missed the green right again and made bogey there. I was then very quick to lose patience with myself and I kind of lost control of the ball and couldn't get it going on the back nine."
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McDowell carded a 72 against playing partner Kaymer's 67 on Thursday and the Northern Irishman's caddie gave him a pep talk on the first tee on Friday.
"He said, 'let's go and have a good time out there'," explained the US Open champion. "But it's hard to have a good time when I am trying so desperately hard this week to get in the mix.
"I am frustrated because I'm not doing what I should be doing this week. I just don't think I have a huge amount left in the tank.
"I've certainly got that feeling maybe it's one step too far. I'm a mentally tired man."
Kaymer shot a 70 on Friday to finish seven-under on 137, two behind joint leaders Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher of Britain.
Up for grabs for Kaymer and McDowell, the only two players who can top the money-list, is a $1.26 million (£800,000) cheque for winning the tournament plus a $1.5 million (£960,000) bonus for finishing the season as Europe's number one.
Kaymer will also overtake Lee Westwood at the summit of the world rankings if he wins the tournament and Westwood is lower than second, or if the German comes second and the Briton is outside the top 27.
McDowell, though, is refusing to completely give up the ghost on his own chances.
"It's not over," said the 31-year-old. "Going 65-65 at the weekend is not out of the question.
"I just have to rest. I have got to somehow go out and relax and have a good time, maybe have a few beers tonight and hang out by the hotel pool."