McDowell maintains presence on the leaderboard

3/8/2014 8:56:00 PM
Graeme McDowell   (Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell (Getty Images)
Graeme McDowell was just two off the lead as Tiger Woods sparked life into his title defence with a brilliant 66 at Trump National Doral.

McDowell reached the turn in a one under par 35 and at one under for the tournament sat two shots behind Dustin Johnson midway through the third round at the Blue Monster, where the wind had died down after wreaking havoc over the first two days.

Woods had been out early after reaching the halfway stage five over for the week, and the World Number One responded with eight birdies and two bogeys to get back to one under and set the clubhouse target.

“I played well today,” said the 14-time Major Champion. “I got off to a nice start. 

“Other than the three-putt at four, I really hit the ball well and made some putts. It was a nice day all around. 

“It was nice to get back in the tournament again. I held it together yesterday, a long day, a long, tough day and that gave me a chance today. 

“I felt like my swing is coming around, which is nice. I just need to get healthy enough to where I can put the club in that position.”

American trio Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan and Patrick Reed were tied for second on two under, with Woods and McDowell joined by Matt Kuchar and Wales’ Jamie Donaldson in a share of fifth.

Donaldson had moved into a share of the lead with a birdie from two feet at the first after a fine pitch and an enormous 50 foot putt at the short fourth.

However, bogeys at the sixth and ninth checked his progress before a birdie at the 11th saw him become one of only eight players under par.

Dustin Johnson bogeyed the ninth and 11th, then ran up a double bogey six at the 14th to fall all the way back to one over par.

That left Mahan and Reed to take up the running on three under, with Dufner a shot behind.

Woods was all the way up to fourth, and Donaldson remained alongside him as he completed a one under 71.

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez was in the group at level par after coming home in 33 for a third round 69.

“I made my first birdie on the eighth and then started to hole some putts on the back nine, and that brings you up here,” said the 50 year old.

“It's difficult to put the ball close to the holes, and then you need some support from the putter and that's what I did well on the back nine.

“Winning or not winning, what I will try to do is still enjoy myself - that's the main thing. That is the only way you can catch someone.”