GRAEME MCDOWELL HAS AVENGED the first-round exit of his Northern Ireland compatriot and friend Rory McIlroy by beating Shane Lowry at the WGC World Matchplay.
A brutal display of clutch putting putt McDowell four up after nine holes before Lowry gave himself hope with a birdie on 15. The impossible comeback proved just that as the Northern Irish star got a par on 16 to win the encounter 3&2.
Lowry, seeded 64 for the championship, defeated McIlroy in the first round before comfortably disposing of Carl Pettersson to reach the round of 16.
McDowell, though, would put an end to the fairytale story with impressive iron play and nerveless putting, especially over the opening nine holes.
The first hole was halved and Lowry took an early advantage by taking the second. The good news stopped there.
McDowell parred to take the third, tying up the contest against the Offaly golfer, and never let up over the course of the afternoon after taking the fourth with a birdie.
He hit the turn at -4 and was four shots clear of Lowry, who needed a brave par putt on 10 to keep it that way.
McDowell, a former US Open champion, played smart, percentage golf over the next three holes and made pars that Lowry could match but not better.
McDowell admires a young fan’s animal-print hoodie in Arizona. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Lowry claimed a hole back with a birdie on 15 but McDowell closed out the tie with a par saving putt from five feet on 16.
The Portrush golfer will face Jason Day in the quarter-final after the Australian defeated 2012 Master champ Bubba Watson 4&3.