McDowell goes three clear in China

Major winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland extended his lead at theWGC-HSBC Champions to three shots after posting a flawless five-under-par 67.

The Ryder Cup star is ahead of Ian Poulter who birdied four of his last five holes to grab second place on 67.

Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata and Bubba Watson of the United States share third place at the halfway stage of the Chinese showpiece.

McDowell’s short game was again superb as he saved par from difficult lies on more than one occasion, while adding five birdies to his bogey-free round.

“The putter was fairly hot today,” he said.

“I didn’t play as well as I did yesterday; I missed a lot more fairways, which is a big key on this golf course. You must find fairways to have a chance out there. I got lucky a couple of times and I made some good saves.”

McDowell added that he was delighted to be heading into the weekend rounds in prime position after compiling a two-day total of 10-under-par 134.

“It wasn’t my best ball-striking round but I hung in there and I’m right where I want to be going into the weekend,” said McDowell.

Meanwhile Poulter, who finished second at the WGC-HSBC Champions last year, believes the race for the year’s final World Golf Championship title is still wide open

The Englishman reached the turn in 35 but stepped up the pressure on McDowell with four birdies in his closing five holes.

“This is probably the best I’ve played all year, which is very exciting. I only missed a couple of greens. It was a little frustrating in the first 13 holes as I was missing chances, but I took four of the last five and the chances started to go in at the end.”