McDowell one clear in Shanghai

Graeme McDowell will enjoy a one-shot lead heading into the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

The Northern Irishman was three clear at the start of play on Saturday, but carded a 71 to see his lead trimmed to just the single stroke as World Golf Championships newcomer Hiroshi Itawa climbed up the leaderboard to claim second place.

McDowell, who is 11-under-par for the tournament, produced two flawless rounds of 67 before the weekend but struggled to keep up the pace while Us Open Champion Martin Kaymer and Masters winner Bubba Watson are within reach at 9-under-par in a tie for third place.

“I played reasonably solid today,” McDowell told the European tour’s official website.

“I thought conditions were a little bit more difficult, colder, obviously a little bit of overnight rain made the golf course play a little bit longer.”

McDowell, who had not dropped a shot all week, carded three birdies and two bogeys in the third round.

“I was generally happy with the way I hit the golf ball. I didn’t quite score as well as I did the last couple days but I gave myself some confidence from a ball-striking point of view that I can get the job done tomorrow.”