Graeme McDowell faces picking up a slow-play penalty after on-course interview

Former US Open champion took too long over shot during second round in Saudi Arabia

 Graeme McDowell  and Phil Mickelson  walk along the 14th hole during the second round of the  Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson walk along the 14th hole during the second round of the Saudi International at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

 

Graeme McDowell is two shots off the lead going into the weekend at the Saudi International but the former US Open champion faces the threat of a slow-play penalty after picking up a “bad time”.

McDowell took too long over his second shot to the fourth hole, his 13th, after conducting an in-round interview with Sky Sports reporter Tim Barter.

Another transgression in the final two rounds will see McDowell hit with a one-shot penalty, which could be crucial in his bid for a first European Tour win since 2014.

“I just did an interview with Tim Barter so I was 50 yards behind the guys,” McDowell told The Scotsman. “I was first to go and I had 215 yards into the wind. It was a difficult shot.

“Tim is great at his job and I don’t want a situation where guys won’t give him an interview.

“But I called him over and said, ‘You might want to have a word with them’ because, if I am going to do that for you, which I want to because we are in the entertainment business and I think it’s a good thing for viewers to get an insight into what is happening out on the course, only for the referee to give me a bad time, then everyone is going to say ‘no’.

“We don’t want that because I think it is bringing a nice dynamic. Listen, we are trying to make this product as fast and as interesting as is possible.

“It’s not always the most exciting product in the world, this stuff out here, and I think those on-course interviews are a nice little addition.”

McDowell went on to birdie the fourth hole and added another at the fifth as he finished with a two-under 68 to move to eight under.

That left him one adrift of America’s Gavin Green, with Victor Perez a further shot ahead in the lead on 10 under.

The former college room-mates at the University of New Mexico will now go head to head in the third round.

Perez, who won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last year, said: “I am very pleased with the second round. I think it was important to keep the hammer down after obviously a 65 in the wind yesterday.

“Gavin and I were room-mates in college for four years and we are obviously very close. He played very well yesterday and I’m looking forward to playing together. Being on tour together makes it really easy to catch up.

“He’s a great talent and he has been coming up a long time so it’s only a matter of time before he breaks through.”

Green, who is seeking his maiden European Tour title, added: “Playing with Victor tomorrow I think it will be fun. It’s just like college days again.

“I’m excited just to be in the mix. I’ve been there a couple times and just try to put myself in the position a couple more times and see what happens.”

Defending champion Dustin Johnson is five shots off the pace following a 68, with British Open champion Shane Lowry and Phil Mickelson another stroke back after rounds of 67 and 70 respectively.

World number one Brooks Koepka is nine shots off the lead after a second round of 69.

Cormac Sharvin birdied three of his final four holes but his three-under 67 still left him one shot on the wrong side of the cut after he finished on two over.

LEADERBOARD
British and Irish unless stated, par 70, (a) denotes amateur

130 Victor Perez (Fra) 65 65

131 Gavin Green (Mal) 64 67

132 Graeme McDowell 64 68

133 Renato Paratore (Ita) 68 65

134 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 69 65, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 68 66, Ross Fisher 66 68

135 Dustin Johnson (USA) 67 68, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 67 68, Francesco Laporta (Ita) 67 68, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 65 70

136 Phil Mickelson (USA) 66 70, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 67 69, Shane Lowry 69 67, Justin Walters (Rsa) 71 65, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 65 71, Sean Crocker (USA) 68 68

137 Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) 67 70, David Howell 68 69, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 68 69, Ashun Wu (Chn) 71 66, Richard McEvoy 69 68, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 73 64, Aaron Rai 66 71, Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 69 68, James Morrison 69 68, Andy Sullivan 66 71, Jeff Winther (Den) 69 68, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 69 68, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 70 67

138 Lucas Herbert (Aus) 67 71, Matt Wallace 70 68, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 65 73, Adrian Meronk (Pol) 68 70, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 69 69, Jordan Smith 71 67, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 72 66

139 Adri Arnaus (Esp) 65 74, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 68 71, Joost Luiten (Ned) 67 72, Sebastian Heisele (Ger) 70 69, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 72 67, Grant Forrest 73 66, Brooks Koepka (USA) 70 69, Maverick Antcliff (Aus) 70 69, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 71 68, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69 70, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 73 66, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 69 70, Thomas Detry (Bel) 73 66, Alexander Levy (Fra) 69 70

140 Richie Ramsay 70 70, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 72 68, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 75 65, Ashley Chesters 73 67, Scott Jamieson 73 67, Connor Syme 69 71, Antoine Rozner (Fra) 72 68, Ian Poulter 72 68, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 68 72, Jack Senior 71 69, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 69 71, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 71 69, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 71 69

141 Steven Brown 71 70, Justin Harding (Rsa) 68 73, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 70 71, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 66 75, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 69 72, Haotong Li (Chn) 70 71, Stephen Gallacher 70 71, Ernie Els (Rsa) 72 69, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 74 67, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 68 73, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 73 68, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 72 69

MISSED CUT

142 Cormac Sharvin 75 67, Matthew Jordan 73 69, Paul Waring 72 70, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 75 67, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 72 70, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 71 71, Chris Paisley 70 72, Scott Hend (Aus) 68 74, David Drysdale 73 69, Sam Horsfield 70 72, Min Woo Lee (Aus) 74 68

143 Richard Bland 69 74, Oliver Wilson 75 68, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 70 73, Romain Langasque (Fra) 71 72, Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 72 71, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 68 75, Darius Van Driel (Ned) 71 72, Jamie Donaldson 71 72, Robert Macintyre 72 71, Rasmus Hojgaard (Den) 70 73, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 75 68, Lee Westwood 70 73, Patrick Reed (USA) 73 70

144 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 74 70, Jack Singh Brar 70 74, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 73 71, Oliver Fisher 73 71, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 73 71, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 71 73, Calum Hill 71 73, Akshay Bhatia (USA) 72 72, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 71 73

145 David Law 75 70, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 73 72, David Horsey 74 71, Tom Lewis 66 79, David Micheluzzi (Aus) 72 73

146 Sebastian Crampton (USA) 74 72, Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 74 72, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 73 73

147 Jamie Elson 79 68, Robert Rock 71 76, Benjamin Poke (Den) 74 73, Ricardo Santos (Por) 74 73

148 Ahmed Marjan (Mor) 75 73, Matthew Southgate 71 77

149 Wade Ormsby (Aus) 76 73, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 70 79

150 Othman Almulla (Sau) 75 75, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 73 77, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 78 72, Oliver Farr 73 77

155 Saud Al Sharif (a) (Sau) 82 73

166 Faisal Salhab (a) (Sau) 82 84

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