PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico — Graeme McDowell, determined to get his game turned around, saw better results Friday with seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch for 8-under 63 and a one-shot lead in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
McDowell relied on his strengths — hitting fairways and making putts — to close out the back nine with three straight birdies. After bogey on No. 1, he bounced back with four straight birdies to take the lead in the morning at El Camaleon Golf Club. McDowell finished the second round at 12-under 130.
Derek Fathauer made four birdies over his last seven holes for 66 to get within one shot of McDowell. Harold Varner birdied four of his last five holes for 62 to join Si Woo Kim (64) at two shots behind. Opening-round co-leader Justin Leonard (68) fell three strokes back at 133.
"I drove the ball much, much better, and I putted just as good (Friday) as I did (Thursday). I'm putting nicely and decisively. The hole looks pretty big right now." McDowell said.
McDowell typically plays the European Tour this time of year as it wraps up the Race to Dubai. But McDowell, 36, had such a mediocre season that he returned to America to get a head start on the new PGA Tour season. He started the year at No. 15 in the world and has fallen to No. 85. McDowell has been grinding hard since June and has seen signs of improvement.
"I'm trying to play better. It's been a frustrating year. That's the game of golf we know and love. You've got to take the rough with the smooth," McDowell said.
LPGA: Minjee Lee shot her second straight 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead over four players in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico City. The 19-year-old Australian made six birdies at Club de Golf Mexico to move to 6-under 138 after two rounds. First-round leader Inbee Park (71), Christina Kim (66), Angela Stanford (70) and Sei Young Kim (66) were tied for second at 139. Brittany Lincicome of Seminole (73) is 20th at 1-over 145.
PGA EUROPE: Lucas Bjerregaard birdied three of his last four holes for 6-under 66 and a three-stroke lead in the BMW Masters in Shanghai. Bjerregaard was at 12-under 132. First-round leader Sergio Garcia (71) dropped into a tie for second with Thongchai Jaidee (68).