McDowell takes over at the top


World Challenge:California has been one of Graeme McDowells happiest hunting grounds and it proved the case again yesterday as he opened up a three-shot lead in the World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club following a second round 66.

The Northern Irishman, who won his first major in the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach in northern California, then five months later beat tournament host Tiger Woods in a play-off to clinch the World Challenge, leads by three from Bo Van Pelt, Jim Furyk and Keegan Bradley.

McDowell made a blistering start to his round firing in birdies on his opening three holes and he finished almost as strongly birdieing the 16th and 17th before securing a par on the home hole.

Nedbank Challenge: Scotland’s Paul Lawrie is the one-shot leader at the half-way stage of the Nedbank Challenge, with his three-under-par 69 giving him the edge at Sun City.

The Ryder Cup winner takes the slenderest of advantages into the third day, with Martin Kaymer a shot behind.

Four players trail on one under: Bill Haas, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, with two-time defending champion Lee Westwood on level par.

Behind him is Peter Hanson (one over), before a real gap to the rest, with Carl Pettersson three over, Nicolas Colsaerts and Garth Mulroy four over and Justin Rose a further four shots back.

Yesterday was a horror day for the Englishman, a seven-over 79 not amongst his finest rounds, but Lawrie will have slept easy last night after his 69.

He could have signed for an even better score too, but a bogey on the 15th par four stopped him from registering the outright best round of the day.

Kaymer also carded a 69, consisting of five birdies and two bogeys, while Westwood, looking for a third successive win at the event, was left to rue a bogey and a double-bogey six at the par-four 16th as he ended one over for the day.

He had little on compatriot Rose, though, whose score was heavily undermined by a triple bogey on the par-four third.

Ladies European Tour: Teenage amateur Aditi Ashok claimed a share of the lead after the first round of the Hero Indian Open yesterday.

The 14-year-old from Bangalore, whose first name means “boundless”, carded an opening 69 to join Italian Stefania Croce and Becky Brewerton of Wales at the top of the leaderboard.

Ashok carded five birdies and two bogeys to finish three-under par at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.

The highlight of Brewerton’s round was an eagle on the par-five sixth and she was five-under par after 15 holes, but then dropped two shots in her last three.

Speaking after her round, Ashok said: “I won a professional event last year so I think that’s given me some of the experience I needed to play well today. I gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities. I have a good short game and it went well today. My approach shots were also good. I am happy to be there on top along with such experienced pros.”

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