Graeme McDowell / Getty Images
McDowell has been, shall we say, a little off in his three stars -- missing the cut twice and finishing T-40.
History and local knowledge can certainly give any player an advantage, but Graeme McDowell showed us on Friday that you don't need to have a lot of success at a place to get into contention. One year after the U.S. Open champ fired 80-73 to miss the cut at Arnie's event, McDowell went low on Friday, putting together a stellar 9-under 63 that included an eagle on the par-5 16th and some of the best iron shots we've seen from G-Mac in a long, long time.
He was automatic from tee-to-green, only missing two fairways and one green to go along with 28 putts. It was also the second time in the last month McDowell has fired 63 or better in a Florida Swing event. Throw in three top-10 finishes in his last five PGA Tour-sanctioned events and you have one of the best stretches we've seen from McDowell since he won the Open, holed the winning putt at the Ryder Cup, and took out Tiger Woods at his own event.
He's still a ways off from replicating that special year, but at least after two rounds at Bay Hill, his game appears to be moving in the right direction. That's all you can ask for with the first major of the year on the horizon.
- Graeme McDowell