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McDowell hoping to pair up with Snedeker

Graeme McDowell already has a dream pairing in his mind for Sunday's final round of the Open Championship - but it is with former college rival Brandt Snedeker and not Tiger Woods.

Snedeker equalled the lowest halfway total in Open history of 130 by adding a flawless 64 to his opening 66 at Royal Lytham, but McDowell had no qualms about making up a six-shot deficit after rounds of 67 and 69 left him four under.

"I played college golf with Brandt, I know he's a great player. He was number one at Vanderbilt and I was number one at UAB (University of Alabama, Birmingham) so we played a lot of tournaments together. I'd take a late Sunday afternoon pairing with him right now, snap your hand off for that," he said.

"I haven't quite gotten into fifth gear. I'm probably still in third gear, fourth gear," said the 32-year-old Ulsterman, who was second in the recent US Open after lifting the trophy in 2010.

"And you just have to play the waiting game a little bit when the golf courses are this hard. I know we've got some wind forecast on Sunday so if you can be within four or five shots going into Sunday, that's right where you need to be. I think the tougher the better for me. I'd like to see the wind, get it up to 10, 15 miles an hour and let's really test us out here.

Snedeker led by one shot from first-round pacesetter Adam Scott - who added a fine 67 to his opening 64 on Friday - with Tiger Woods alone in third on six under after holing a bunker shot on the 18th and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen fourth on five under.

McDowell, who shared fifth place on four under alongside 1999 champion Paul Lawrie, South African Thomas Aiken and American duo Matt Kuchar and Jason Dufner, added: "These guys have got big jobs ahead of them this week, as we all have. [But] there's no one on the leaderboard that scares me. The only person that scares me is myself.

"I've got to go out and control my emotions for a couple of days and hopefully I'll come down this last fairway on Sunday with a chance to win the Claret Jug."

Snedeker, who secured one of this three PGA Tour wins last year by beating current world number one Luke Donald in a play-off, admits he has been out enjoying "the local ales" once away from the course, but insists his one late night earlier in the week was to get over jet lag.

"It's funny I've never played good (until now) because I like being over here and having a good time with it," said Snedeker, referring to being a collective 25 over par for his three previous Open appearances, all missed cuts."


From Belfast Telegraph