McDowell and Dyson enjoy upturn in fortunes

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Graeme McDowell has turned his attention from simply making the cut to winning his third title of the year in the Alstom Open de France.

McDowell arrived in Paris having missed the cut in five of his last six strokeplay events, although he did win the RBC Heritage and the Volvo World Match Play Championship in that time and insisted there was no need to push the panic button.

The former US Open champion stayed on to practice at Carton House after his early exit from the Irish Open last weekend and looked to have reaped the rewards after a second consecutive 69 at Le Golf National left him just two shots behind halfway leader Fabrizio Zanotti.

“I’m playing this golf course the way it’s supposed to be played, fairways and greens,” McDowell said. “Once you start hitting it off line it will punish you.

“It’s been a rough couple of months for me, I’ve not been playing the kind of golf I’d like to and the key to this week was to come and get myself in the mix for the weekend and get some of the juices flowing again.

“I’m excited for the weekend and to make a cut really. It feels like a step in the right direction.

“I certainly know what to do when I put myself in these positions, I just have not had the opportunity to do it lately. I’m probably on one of my worst missed cut runs in a while. It’s nice to break that first and foremost and be on the leaderboard.”

Paraguay’s Zanotti completed a second consecutive 68 to set the pace on six under, one ahead of Danish duo Thomas Bjorn and Soren Kjeldsen and South African Richard Sterne.

Malton’s Simon Dyson is just two shots off the lead after rounds of 70 and 68. Harrogate’s John Parry (74, 70) and Hull’s Richard Finch (75, 70) avoided the cut to carry on this weekend.

Dyson had missed his last three cuts in a row and for the last four years in succession in the event, but added a flawless 68 to his opening 70.

“I’ve not been scoring at all, not been my usual self,” Dyson said. “I’ve been trying to keep it simple on the course and concentrating on one shot at a time because I never do well on this course.

“I came here with not great expectations having just missed three cuts in a row and I played the last two days the best golf I’ve played all year. It’s amazing what it can throw up and from coming here on Wednesday morning not really looking forward to playing it, I’m really looking forward to the weekend now.”