Graeme McDowell entered the third round of the Celtic Manor Wales Open within a shot of leader Alexander Noren. Rounds of 67 and 68, on a course with which the Ryder Cup hero has nothing but the most positive of associations, hinted at a return to form and left him within striking distance of his first win of the season.
Overnight, talk had already turned to a defence of his 2010 title, with many seeing it as the cathartic antidote to a season of in which the US Open champion, several impressive rounds aside, has generally struggled.
But golf, as we all know, has a habit of undermining notions of what we mortals like to refer to as Fate. Outcomes rarely conforms to expectations. You could see McDowell doing many things over the weekend in Wales– winning, contending, falling away at the death– but failing to break eighty on Moving Day definitely wasn’t one of them.
Currently eleven-over-par through sixteen holes of his third round, McDowell is on course for a round of 82, having so far managed to set two birdies against three bogeys, three double-bogeys and a quadruple.
After a stellar 2010, has the Northerner finally run out of steam?
*Update by Steph: 6/4, 7pm: McDowell tweeted this gem earlier: