WGC-Cadillac Championship: Rory McIlroy & Graeme McDowell one back at halfway
Last Updated: 08/03/14 4:28pm
Dustin Johnson: American has a share of the lead after strong winds hit Doral on day two
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are amongst four Europeans just one stroke off the halfway lead at WGC-Cadillac Championship after a brutal second day at Doral.
Making up for lost time after weather delays on Thursday, the revamped Blue Monster course was battered by severe winds which made low scoring extremely tough and led to over one hundred balls finding their way into water hazards.
McDowell (71) was one of only three men to shoot under-par in his second round, another Jamie Donaldson (70) joining the Northern Irish duo at level-par for the tournament, along with Italy's Francesco Molinari (75).
The Europeans trail a quartet of Americans who share the lead on one-under, and were the only players to reach halfway with a minus score; Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan and Patrick Reed who had earlier claimed the outright lead after the completion of the first round.
McDowell steadily combined two birdies with just a single bogey, while Donaldson managed three birdies and a solitary bogey to post the best round of the day - American Chris Kirk (71) the only other to break par.
Former world number one McIlroy (74) fought back in commendable style after initially appearing like he might get blown out of contention after an error-strewn first nine.
McIlroy fights back
The 24-year-old, who lost a play-off at the Honda Classic last weekend, went out in 40, but recovered after the turn with three birdies to put himself in with another chance of victory.
Second round leaderboard
(US unless stated)
-1 D Johnson
-1 M Kuchar
-1 H Mahan
-1 P Reed
Par J Donaldson (Wal)
Par G McDowell (NIrl)
Par R McIlroy (NIrl)
Par F Molinari (Ita)
Click here for collated scores
Limiting the damage was the primary concern for every player as the new-look Miami course bared its teeth, with Tiger Woods and Adam Scott amongst the most significant casualties.
Both resumed their weather-delayed first rounds in the morning, and both made nightmare starts. Scott dropped six shots in his first five holes - including a pair of double bogeys - while Woods leaked four shots in as many holes.
Things hardly improved when they began their second rounds either, although both men would fight back in the latter stages with Woods thrilling the galleries by sinking a 92-foot birdie putt at the fourth hole - the longest on the PGA Tour for five years.
In the end both men signed for rounds of 73 with Scott sitting at four-over and world No 1 Woods one shot worse off.
Phil Mickelson, another winner at this course before the changes, endured a hat-trick of double-bogeys at the start of his second round, but the left-hander hit back with five birdies in a round of 75 that left him five over for the tournament.