Graeme McDowell puts Portrush thoughts to one side at Canadian Open

McDowell and Shane Lowry four shots off the lead as Rory McIlroy makes move with 66

Graeme McDowell  on  the fifth hole during the second round of the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. Photograph: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell on the fifth hole during the second round of the RBC Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf and Country Club. Photograph: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

 

Think of it as a side bet. If Graeme McDowell plays well enough in the RBC Canadian Open, the rewards could be two-fold: aside from the actual prestigious title, there’s also the potential to earn a place in the field for the 148th Open championship next month, a prize on offer at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontaria, where the leading three players inside the top-10 not already exempt will earn a ticket to Royal Portrush.

If! For the first two rounds, McDowell has played his part in the deal. A second round 67 for a midway total of 132, eight under par, moved the Northern Irishman into the business part of the leaderboard and very much in with a chance to punch the golden ticket for himself.

“I’ve had three or four months wrestling with the Portrush dilemma. I’m thinking of putting a statement out on Twitter and saying, ‘I appreciate everyone’s concern’,” said McDowell. “ The people that think I should get an invite and the people that think I shouldn’t, I hear them. But I’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that if I play well between now and Portrush I will play. If I don’t play well between now and Portrush I won’t and I’ll deserve not to play.

“I’m okay with that. The R&A don’t have a precedent where they’ve invited guys before and that’s fine. At least I know my fate. I’m going out here trying to win the RBC Canadian Open this week. I could care less about Portrush. I would rather win this week and not play Portrush. That’s the bottom line.”

McDowell’s round – five birdies and two bogeys – kept him very much in contention as he seeks to add the Canadian Open to his win earlier this season in the Dominican Republic. “I feel really, really good going into this weekend. I love the way this course sets up. It’s a great leaderboard . . . my putter remains sort of one of the strengths of my game, and I’m going to have to keep it pretty hot this weekend At eight-under par I’m going to need another eight to have a chance to win.”

Shane Lowry took a share of the lead in the tournament at one stage in his second round after he made an eagle on the fourth hole, his 13th. A run of bogey, par, double-bogey, bogey saw him fall backwards before he closed with a birdie on the ninth, his two-under 68 seeing him join McDowell on eight under.

A run of five birdies in seven holes helped Rory McIlroy move into contention, a four-under 66 leaving him on seven under.

Brandt Snedeker shot a second round 60 for a 36-holes total of 129, 11 under par, to claim the early clubhouse lead, only for Scott Brown and Matt Kuchar to both post 63s to get to 12 under.

Snedeker admitted he had a sub-60 in his mind as he went about his business. “I wasn’t really paying attention [at first]. I was hitting the ball so well off the tee and making so many putts,just trying to put the ball in the green. I knew if I did that I had a good chance. One of those rounds where everything comes together.”

SCOREBOARD
(USA unless stated, par 70):

128 Scott Brown 65 63, Matt Kuchar 65 63

129 Nick Taylor (Can) 64 65, Brandt Snedeker 69 60

130 Webb Simpson 66 64

131 Adam Hadwin (Can) 65 66

132 Benjamin Silverman (Can) 71 61, Graeme McDowell (N Irl) 65 67, Shane Lowry (Irl) 64 68, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 66 66, Sungjae Im (Kor) 64 68, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 66 66

133 Rory McIlroy (N Irl) 67 66, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez (Mex) 67 66, Sam Straka (Aut) 68 65

134 Adam Schenk 66 68, Peter Malnati 66 68, Brian Harman 69 65, Danny Willett (Eng) 66 68, Jonas Blixt (Swe) 67 67, Keegan Bradley 63 71, Ben Crane 69 65, Hank Lebioda 67 67, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 64 70

135 Stephan Jaeger (Ger) 71 64, Justin Thomas 70 65, Scott Langley 67 68, Roberto Castro 64 71, Chris Thompson 69 66, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 67 68, D.J. Trahan 67 68, Harris English 66 69

136 Wes Roach 68 68, Richard Jung (Can) 67 69, Robert Streb 67 69, Brooks Koepka 70 66, Dustin Johnson 71 65, Talor Gooch 66 70, Jim Furyk 69 67, Collin Morikawa 70 66, Cameron Tringale 68 68, Josh Teater 68 68

137 Ryan Palmer 68 69, Cody Gribble 69 68, Jim Knous 68 69, Danny Lee (Nzl) 65 72, George McNeill 69 68, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 67 70, Sang-moon Bae (Kor) 69 68, Jimmy Walker 65 72, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 65 72, Kevin Tway 67 70, JJ Spaun 67 70, Tyler Duncan 69 68

138 Roger Sloan (Can) 68 70, Harold Varner III 68 70, Brian Gay 72 66, Colt Knost 67 71, Kelly Kraft 68 70, Jake Knapp 69 69, Daniel Berger 67 71, Peter Uihlein 67 71, Joey Garber 68 70, Martin Laird (Sco) 69 69, Dominic Bozzelli 69 69, Zach Johnson 71 67, Alex Noren (Swe) 67 71, Paul Barjon (Fra) 68 70, Bubba Watson 71 67, Rod Pampling (Aus) 69 69, Jonathan Byrd 67 71

MISSED CUT

139 Nick Watney 70 69, Austin Cook 72 67, Brandon Hagy 72 67, Wyndham Clark 70 69, Mike Weir (Can) 70 69, Russell Henley 65 74, Curtis Luck (Aus) 71 68, Austin Connelly (Can) 69 70, Corey Conners (Can) 70 69, Adam Svensson (Can) 69 70, Matt Every 68 71, Kyle Jones 68 71, Tom Hoge 73 66, Alex Cejka (Ger) 70 69, JB Holmes 72 67, Chad Collins 69 70, Ryan Armour 70 69, Jim Herman 71 68, Brandon Harkins 70 69

140 Roberto Diaz (Mex) 69 71, James Allenby (Can) 70 70, Martin Piller 69 71, Nicholas Lindheim 72 68, Séamus Power (Irl) 70 70, Billy Hurley III 69 71, Trey Mullinax 69 71, Whee Kim (Kor) 70 70, Denny McCarthy 70 70, Luke Donald (Eng) 69 71, Zachary Bauchou 69 71

141 Bud Cauley 71 70, Hudson Swafford 68 73, John Chin 70 71, David Hearn (Can) 66 75, Sam Saunders 70 71, Will Claxton 71 70, Drew Nesbitt (Can) 66 75, Fabian Gomez (Arg) 71 70, Alex Prugh 70 71, Ricky Barnes 69 72, Richy Werenski 71 70, Etienne Brault (Can) 72 69, Ollie Schniederjans 70 71, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 71 70, Tyrone Van Aswegen (Rsa) 73 68

142 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 73 69, Kramer Hickok 73 69, Aaron Wise 74 68, David Lingmerth (Swe) 71 71, Nate Lashley 71 71, Scott Piercy 72 70, Michael Gligic (Can) 70 72, Ryan Yip (Can) 68 74, Tom Lovelady 74 68, J.J. Henry 69 73, Bill Haas 68 74, Brice Garnett 74 68

143 Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 72 71, Scott Stallings 68 75, Brady Schnell 71 72, Richard T Lee (Can) 70 73, JC Deacon 74 69, Chad Campbell 69 74, Derek Fathauer 72 71, Brendon Todd 70 73, Martin Trainer 72 71, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 71 72

144 Zack Sucher 73 71, Cameron Davis (Aus) 73 71

145 Joseph Deraney 75 70, Johnson Wagner 71 74, Marc-Etienne Bussieres (Can) 74 71

146 Chris Crisologo (Can) 72 74, Shawn Stefani 74 72, Chris Stroud 72 74, Anders Albertson 74 72, Chase Wright 73 73

147 Thomas DeMarco (Can) 71 76, Joey Savoie (Can) 75 72, Seth Reeves 73 74

148 Julian Etulain (Arg) 76 72, Albin Choi (Can) 76 72, Matthew Anderson (Can) 74 74

153 Josh Whalen (Can) 79 74

155 Michael Blair (Can) 76 79

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