McDowell well down the pecking order

Former US Open winner will struggle to make the cut at Canadian Open

Graeme McDowell makes his way to  the 13th fairway at the Canadian Open. Photograph:  Mark Blinch/Reuters

Graeme McDowell makes his way to the 13th fairway at the Canadian Open. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters


Graeme McDowell had a day to forget in the first round of Canadian Open in Oakville yesterday evening. While Brendan Steele was the unlikely figure at the top of the leaderboard after the opening day’s play, McDowell will struggle simply to make the cut after finishing on four over.

An early gain on the second by McDowell was quickly overshadowed by six bogeys over the course before the former US Open champion stopped the rot with a birdie four on the 18th for a score of 76.

Steele made the most of clear conditions at Glen Abbey Golf Course by sinking eight birdies in a round of 65, his only blemish coming on the par-four ninth — his final hole of the day.

That left Steele with a slender lead over Scott Brown, Matt Kuchar and Scott Gardiner. And the 30-year-old Californian, without a win since his maiden title at the 2011 Texas Open and with just one top-10 finish this season, seemed satisfied with his day’s work.

“Overall, it was a good day,” Steele said. “I hit a lot of good shots and was able to hole a lot of putts. I also didn’t miss many greens or hit many shots off-line and I was able to roll a few putts in.”

It was a topsy-turvy and ultimately disappointing day for England’s Luke Donald. The 35-year-old former world number one, who missed the cut at last weekend’s British Open, began his round with a dropped shot before making birdies on the fifth and seventh.

However, that was followed by bogeys on the ninth and 12th and a double bogey on the par-four 14th, although he undid some of the damage by picking up two shots in the last three holes to finish one over.

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