Graeme McDowell faces a massive decision on the Saudi Golf Series after submitting forms to open a $25 million event

Graeme McDowell is weighing his options after submitting his forms to play the inaugural event of the $25 million LIV Golf Invitational Series in London next month.

The Portrush man faces a crucial decision – join up to 10 England players at the Centurion Club as he defies the PGA Tour’s decision not to grant the would-be rebels a release and risks being banned from the Ryder Cup .

According to the Daily Telegraph, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Richard Bland will defy the DP World Tour should they also decline releases, while Laurie Canter, Sam Horsfield, Jordan Smith, David Horsey, Robert Rock, Ross McGowan and Oliver Fisher are tied.

LIV chief executive Greg Norman has promised to support the rebels in court or pay fines.

But while world No. 371 McDowell, 42, could rake in at least $1.19 million for last place in the eight events, he risks being banned from the Ryder Cup as a player, assistant captain or captain.

Meanwhile, Niall Kearney is aiming for his first win after being just two shots from the lead at halftime with a four-under 67 at the Soudal Open.

He shares sixth place in the six, just two shots behind Germany’s Matti Schmid and English duo Horsfield and Dale Whitnell at the Rinkven International in Antwerp.

“I played really well today,” said Kearney, who ranks first in strokes won from tee-to-green. “To be honest, I feel like I could have run five or six better. I potted a few putts but had many chances within 10 feet that I didn’t convert. I could have gone really deep today.”

With two-month-old baby girls at home, a girl would be huge for Kearney, and he feels good about his chances at a course he loves.

“It really suits my eye,” he said. “Tree lined with great definition. The game is good. I haven’t played that much lately but I’ve been working on my game at home for the past few weeks and I’m hitting it very well.”

Schmidt shot 64 while Horsfield and Whitnell carded 69s to take the lead through a shot on eight under Portugal’s Ricardo Santos and England’s Richard Mansell, but Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin missed the one-under cut by three shots by rounds of 74 and 71, respectively.

In Dallas, Ryan Palmer shot a 10-under 62 and England’s David Skinns a 63 to lead the AT&T Byron Nelson to 15-under through a clubhouse shot from Justin Lower with Seamus Power and John Murphy among later starters.

In Regions tradition, the inaugural senior major of the season, Pádraig Harrington shagged four of his last six holes in a six-under 66 to take Scott McCarron part of the lead in the clubhouse with a nine-under at Greystone, Alabama to secure.

On the LPGA Tour in New Jersey, Stephanie Meadows 72 missed her 13 shots behind Australia’s Minjee Lee in the Cognizant Founders Cup by a deficit.

But Leona Maguire bogeyed three of her last six holes for a 76 and appeared to miss her third cut while trotting after being two shots off the projected cut mark on an over.

Meanwhile, Carton House’s Mark Boucher posted a personal best of 73 days and shared the half-time lead with Castle and Ballybofey’s Robert Moran and Stranorlar’s Ryan Griffin at eye level at the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at The Island.

The island proved to be a big winner for the second day in a row as wind gusts of up to 35km/h caused trouble for the elite field.

The morning wave scoring average was in the 80s before the southwesterly winds eased. But even then not a single player in the 132-man field could keep up.

Overnight leader Matthew Wilson of Scotland bogeyed 17th and double bogeyed 18th to card a 76 that put him in fourth place with an over par with West of Ireland Champion Alan Fahy (74) of Bray and Joseph Hanney tied by The Island (75) ).

They’re a shot behind Boucher, Griffin and Moran, who came from the “wrong” side of the draw and chiseled out a 74 in the worst of the wind.

Griffin also shot 74 thanks to an eagle two on the 18th, where he potted a six-iron from 168 yards.

“I’ve played well over the past few days, even on the wrong side of the draw,” said Moran. “It’s just a matter of finding my feet on the pitch over the weekend. You can’t chase shots here. Hopefully a few more putts will go in tomorrow and I’ll be fine.”

Boucher followed early birdies on the 10th and 12th with bogeys on the 16th, 18th and 7th for his 73rd.

“I made a couple of sloppy mistakes coming in but I’m lucky enough,” he said. “I would have taken 73 at the beginning of the day.”

Fahy was five-over through nine holes after starting on the back nine before picking up two shots on the third and fourth.

“It was about keeping your head down and making par,” he said. “It was a grind out there. Every shot requires a lot of concentration. The wind takes everything away from you.”

Defending champion Peter O’Keeffe of Douglas is 31st after a 78 with the top 50 with 8-overs and a tie after Saturday’s third round, which qualifies for Sunday’s final round.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/graeme-mcdowell-facing-massive-decision-on-saudi-golf-series-after-submitting-forms-for-opening-25million-event-41648415.html Graeme McDowell faces a massive decision on the Saudi Golf Series after submitting forms to open a $25 million event

Fry Electronics Team

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