McDowell six shots off the pace in China

Published Thursday, 01 November 2012
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Graeme McDowell has shot an opening round of 71 at the WGC HSBC Champions in China.

McDowell six shots off the pace in China
Graeme McDowell shot an opening round of 71 in China. (© Getty)

That's put the Ulsterman and previous major winner one under and in 26th position.

McDowell is the only Northern Irishman competing with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.

Republic of Ireland's Shane Lowry is also taking part and sits in third position after a six under par 66. He qualified for the event by winning the Portugal Masters just three weeks ago.

"Obviously I'm very disappointed bogeying the last two," Lowry said.

"I felt like I had the ball on a string all day and felt like it came very easy to me today.

"But six under is a good score out there and I'm looking forward to the next few days."

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen is leading the competition alongside Australian Adam Scott. They both hit a seven under par 65.

Rory McIlroy may not be involved but he'll no doubt keep a keen eye on the developments - and in particular, the performances of Peter Hanson and Justin Rose. They finished the first round six under and level par, respectively.

Either could overtake the Holywood man at the top of the European money list by winning on Sunday.

The Northern Irish star is back for next week's Singapore Open and then his defence of the Hong Kong Open before the race-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai, but Hanson has not yet ruled out seeking a late invitation to Singapore.

"I spoke to (Tour chief executive) George O'Grady about it," he said, "and I kind of told him that I'm going to wait till the end of this week.

"Hopefully I can be up there Sunday and we'll see how big of a gap it is."

© UTV News
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