McDowell storms into contention

A superb 64 from Graeme McDowell saw him grab a share of the clubhouse lead at the Barclays Scottish Open on Friday.

A superb 64 from Graeme McDowell saw him grab a share of the clubhouse lead at the Barclays Scottish Open on Friday.

The former US Open champ shares the lead on eleven under with two local favourites, Scott Jamieson and Peter Whiteford.

Jamieson actually found himself four shots clear at one point, but the 27-year-old double-bogeyed his penultimate hole, eventually carding a 66 to share the lead at Castle Stuart near Inverness.

The Challenge Tour graduate has already finished in the top six on four seperate occasions this year, and his good play continued on Friday, as he made two eagles, on the 18th and the second holes, and started an incredible run of five successive birdies on the 11th.

He left his tee shot short of the green on the 218-yard eighth, however, couldn’t get his chip shot onto the green, and three-putted for a disapopinting double.

“That was disappointing, but it’s exciting to be in this position in Scotland and to get my first win here would be fantastic,” he said.

McDowell started the day in joint 30th place after a first-round 69, but four birdies and an eagle on his front nine, and two more birdies after the turn, helped him to an eight-under-par 64.

“It was a good day’s work obviously. Conditions were easy and the course was there for the taking a little bit,” said G-Mac.

“But it was nice to get the low juices flowing. It’s going to give you some confidence and the art of going low is a very important art.

“The course does not pose much of a challenge off the tee, but it’s tricky around the greens and it gives you a test.”

Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara was alone in fourth, one behind the leaders, after a 66 to follow up his opening-round 68, while three players lie a further shot back – Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts (66), Argentinian Angel Cabrera (66) and another Scot, Paul Lawrie, who equaled McDowell’s 64.

Some big names lurk on eight under, three off the lead, including England’s Justin Rose (67), American Matt Kuchar (66) and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington (67).

Phil Mickelson came back nicely with a 67 after a disappointing 73 in his first round that left him in danger of missing the cut. He’s on four under, seven adrift.

Overnight leaders Lee Westwood and Mark Tullo are both among the later starters who had only just started their rounds.