THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Graeme McDowell has done a lot right this year, except win. He has one last chance to fix that.
Back on the course that has provided two key moments in his career, McDowell opened with three straight birdies Friday and finished strong for a 6-under 66, giving him a three-shot lead going into the weekend at the World Challenge.
“A good day’s work,” said McDowell, whose day was not over until he was escorted away for a drug test.
Bo Van Pelt got up-and-down from the drop zone for bogey on the final hole that gave him a 68, leaving him tied for second with Keegan Bradley and Jim Furyk, who each had a 69. Tournament host and defending champion Tiger Woods was tied for the lead on the back nine until he stalled and settled for a 69. He was four shots behind.
This is the final destination of a whirlwind trip for McDowell, who spent two weeks in China, a short holiday in Dubai, a tournament in Australia, back to Dubai and then across eight time zones to California.
Lawrie leads Nedbank
At Sun City, South Africa, Scotland’s Paul Lawrie shot a 3-under 69 in the Nedbank Golf Challenge to take a one-stroke lead over Germany’s Martin Kaymer in the 12-man event.
Lawrie had a 4-under 140 total at Gary Player Country Club. Kaymer, Lawrie’s Ryder Cup teammate, shot 69.
South Africans Louis Oosthuizen (72) and Charl Schwartzel (71) were three strokes back along with Italy’s Francesco Molinari (71) and Greer’s Bill Haas (73).
England’s Lee Westwood was even par after a 73.