McDowell relief after another Houdini escape at Match Play

Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:26pm EST
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(Reuters) - Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell felt emotionally drained but extremely fortunate after pulling off a Houdini-like escape for a second successive day at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Thursday.

McDowell had delivered the biggest surprise in Wednesday's opening round when he rallied from four down after seven holes, and three down after 15, to beat American Gary Woodland one up after 19 holes.

Twenty-four hours later, he battled past Japan's Hideki Matsuyama one up, having rallied from two down after 14 holes in a match where he never led until his clinching par at the 18th.

"Why do it the easy way when the hard way will do?" McDowell smiled as he spoke to reporters after booking his place in the third round at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona.

"I just got off to a slow start again, probably less so today. Hideki opened up three-three, so I was two down walking off the second green.

"I was quite proud of myself when I got a half on three, so I was only two down after three, as opposed to three down. But I made a bad swing on six, hit it in the right bunker there."


Three down after six holes, McDowell then upped a few gears and recorded five birdies over the closing stretch as he overcame a solid display by the 21-year-old Japanese.

"I played really clean golf," McDowell said of his rallying effort. "I tried to go out there today and execute my game plan and try not to give him any room, try not to make any mistakes.   Continued...

Northern Ireland's Graeme Mcdowell tees off on the second hole during the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open golf championship at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Adam Hunger