By John Manley
After failing to make the cut at the Masters, Graeme McDowell literally went to the other side of the world, as in China. One kink in the logic, however, is that Y.E. Yang, who actually challenged for the Masters title, had the same idea. Yang won the Volvo China Open at Suzhou Jinji Lake Golf Club, with McDowell settling for a share of eighth place, five strokes off Yang's score.
McDowell began the tournament inauspiciously with bogeys at the first two holes. But he went on a tear thereafter, carding five birdies until suffering another blemish at 18. He mixed three birdies with just one bogey on both Friday and Saturday, and then played a bogey-free round on Sunday. His 10-under-par 278 (70-70-70-68)
The remainder of the Irish contingent made the cut, although they didn't threaten to leave the premises as the champion. Damien McGrane tied for 17th place at 281 (67-73-70-71), Shane Lowry finished joint-23rd at 283 (70-68-72-73), Peter Lawrie got a piece of 28th position at 284 (67-72-72-73), Gareth Maybin shared 45th place at 287 (72-72-72-71) and Paul McGinley settled in for a cut of 53rd place at 289 (71-72-73-73).
McGrane fashioned some interesting looking scorecards. He played holes 1 through 13 without a bogey over the four days. The closing holes proved problematic, however. Two bogeys at 15 and 18, along with a double at 18 cost him dearly.
Lawrie's opening-round 67 had him battling for the early lead, but the bogey-free spin might have lulled him into a sense of false complacency. He carded a minimum of three bogeys over the remaining rounds.
East Tennessee State won the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational at the Country Club of Spartanburg in South Carolina last week. The Bucs were led by medalist Michael Stewart, who shot 7-under-par 209. Following closely were the Irish trio of Seamus Power, a Waterford senior who was a stroke behind in second place at 210 (68-71-71), Paul O'Kane, a junior from Castledawson, Co. Derry, who carded 213 (73-69-71) for a share of sixth place, and Garth McGee, a freshman from Bangor, Co. Down, who tied for 18th place at 218 (72-71-75). Interestingly, one of the two Welshmen who finished second to Yang in China was Rhys Davies, an ETSU alum.