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Graeme McDowell shoots 66 to lead World Challenge by three

Last Updated: 01/12/12 10:51pm

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Graeme McDowell: seven birdies on day two

Graeme McDowell: seven birdies on day two

Sky Bet

Graeme McDowell shot a best-of-the-week 66 to move into a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the World Challenge in California

The Northern Irishman has not won since his victory here at Thousand Oaks two years ago but is well-placed to end that drought over the weekend in the elite 18-man event hosted by Tiger Woods.

Victory at Sherwood Country Club crowned a stellar 2010 for McDowell, as he won three times, including at the US Open, and helped Europe win the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

Since then his career has faltered but he looked every inch a potential winner again as he compiled his six-under round on Friday.

McDowell had seven birdies and a solitary bogey as he moved clear of the field after his opening 69 on Thursday.

He leads Americans Bo Van Pelt (69), Jim Furyk (68) and Keegan Bradley (68) by three, with Tiger Woods a further shot back after a 69.

Second round leaderboard

(US unless stated)
-9 G McDowell (NI)
-6 K Bradley
-6 J Furyk
-6 B Van Pelt
-5 T Woods

"I would love to compete and play well this weekend, really to kind of put a little icing on what's been a mediocre year," McDowell said. "Despite the fact that I feel like I've played some decent golf this year, I really don't have a lot to show for myself, and this would be a nice way to finish."

Woods improved by a shot on his opening 70 but four birdies in five holes around the turn were followed by a bogey at 15 and he parred his way in.

"I had a decent warm-up session, but the work I did last night was some of the best I've hit the golf ball all year," Woods said. "I just had to come out here and trust it, and when I did, I got into a nice little run there. I just need to do that all 36 holes on the weekend."

Ian Poulter could only add a 72 to his opening 73 and at one-over-par is 10 shots off the pace.

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