Martin Kaymer produced a superb five-under par round of 67 under immense pressure to sit two shots off the lead in the Dubai World Championship.
Kaymer and McDowell are fighting it out in Dubai for the title of Europe’s number one golfer and a bonus prize of almost £1m, and the German’s calmness under pressure has seen him cut to 3/1 to win the Dubai World Championships.
McDowell will be disappointed with his opening round of 72 which saw him drift from 16/1 to win the Dubai World Championships to 33/1.
The Ulsterman still has plenty of time to fashion a chance of winning in Dubai, but he will need to produce the same form that saw him finish fifth and third in his last two starts to challenge current leader Robert Karlsson.
Karlsson was magnificent on his way to shooting a seven-under par round of 65, and the Swede is now 5/1 to win in Dubai.
Karlsson was the European number one just two seasons ago and has the pedigree to lead from pillar to post but the Swede has been suffering with injuries this season and he may find a four day battle mentally tough.
His fellow countryman Henrik Stenson has had an awful season due to injuries and loss of form, but the former world number two is just four shots off Karlsson and is 25/1 to win in Dubai.
Current world number one and winner of this tournament last year, Lee Westwood is also three shots off the lead and is joint second in the Dubai World Championship betting market at 5/1.
Ian Poulter won in Hong Kong last week and joins Westwood and Stenson at three-under par – he is 10/1 to win in Dubai.
A £10 stake on Graeme McDowell winning in Dubai would return £340. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.