McDowell maintains one-shot lead in Shanghai

Sat Nov 8, 2014 5:08am EST
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By Andrew Both

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Graeme McDowell tried to look on the positive side as his lead was trimmed to one stroke after the third round at the $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions tournament on Saturday.

The Northern Irishman battled to a one-under-par 71 after starting the day with a three-shot advantage on the difficult Sheshan course, his mediocre display allowing five other players to move within three strokes with one round remaining.

McDowell posted an 11-under 205 total, while Japanese surprise package Hiroshi Iwata (68) birdied the last to occupy second on 10-under in his first WGC event, with German Martin Kaymer (66) and American Bubba Watson (69) two strokes behind.

McDowell is seeking to become a wire-to-wire winner and keep the WGC series in Northern Irish hands after Rory McIlroy, who is not playing here, won the Bridgestone Invitational in August.

Morning rain made the thick rough more dangerous than ever but McDowell largely avoided it, though he had to remain patient on a front nine that took three hours to negotiate as play slowed to about the same pace as rush hour Shanghai traffic.

"Let's be honest, I'll take this position any week you offer it to me, a one-shot lead going into the last round on a course that I enjoy," McDowell told reporters.

"I didn't score quite as well as the last couple of days but gave myself some confidence from a ball-striking point of view that I can get the job done tomorrow.


Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits the ball on the ninth hole during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai November 8, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song