McDowell happy to be in the mix

A superb second-round 66 has left Graeme McDowell right in the hunt heading into the weekend at the Irish Open.

Much like Rory McIlroy, McDowell has often failed to impress at his national championship, but carded six birdies and a solitary bogey to lie just two shots off the pace at Fota Island.

“There’s always a first time for everything,” joked McDowell. “Eight under is a nice total and although I don’t expect it to be leading at the end of the day it doesn’t have to. I am just excited to be in contention.”

McDowell admitted he was feeling fatigued in Thursday’s first round after the US Open last week, with some of his tee shots coming up more than 50 yards short of the green.

“I was a little sharper this morning, legs felt fresher,” he added. “I missed two fairways, my iron play was better and I putted well.

“The Irish Open brings its own pressure, but it’s the proverbial walk in the park compared to last week, which bordered on the unenjoyable. I’m more relaxed, trying to free myself up and enjoy my golf.”