Golf

Graeme McDowell makes a shaky start at the Valspar Championship

Graeme McDowell could manage only a four-over par 75 at the Valspar Championship
By Martin McGoran

GRAEME McDowell has a mountain to climb if he is to make the cut at the Valspar Championship, but Waterford's Seamus Power has put himself in contention after the opening round.

McDowell dropped four shots in the first four holes with a double bogey at the 11th (his second) and bogeys at 12 and 13.

The former US Open champion did, however, compose himself to fire birdies at the 16th, first and fifth holes to return to one-over before disaster struck in the shape of successive double bogeys at the sixth and seventh holes. A birdie at the eighth will have been little consolation to the Portrush man, who at four-over par already lies 13 shots behind first round leader Jim Herman.

The American shot a nine-under par 62 to take a two-shot lead over Russell Henley and tournament favourite Henrik Stenson, who both shot 64s. John Hahn stands alone on six-under, one ahead of rookie Power, who notched five birdies and an eagle in his round of 66.

In India, the weather prevented the first round of the Indian Open from being completed but sole Irishman Paul Dunne was among the early starters and maintained his good form from the Tshwane Open last week with a level par round of 72 leaving him five shots off David Horsey, who has three holes of his opening round still to play.

Matteo Manassero is clubhouse leader after a four-under 68, while Eddie Pepperell (18), Carlos Pigem (16) and gregory Havret (12) are a shot further back.

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