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McDowell laments bunker problems

Graeme McDowell wants tougher conditions to boost his chances of a second major title in the Open Championship this weekend, despite describing parts of Royal Lytham as already being unfair.

McDowell, joint second in the recent US Open after winning the title in 2010, added a second round of 69 to his opening 67 to finish four under par, six shots behind halfway leader Brandt Snedeker, a former college rival.

But the Ulsterman was unhappy that tournament officials left standing water in some of Lytham's 206 bunkers after being caught out by heavy overnight rain. He said: "A few of those bunkers out there are a little bit of a question mark. But we're lucky that we're playing. The golf course is on the edge of unplayable."

He added: "I'm not sure in other parts of the world if this was a normal tournament...some of those bunkers need to be GUR'd (made 'ground under repair'). I saw one in particular left of the 16th green, if you hit it in there, there's nowhere to drop and there's a foot of water. That's not golf. It's not fair.

"A few of these bunkers need to be taken out of play. Hopefully they can get them dried out overnight. The golf course has remained unbelievably dry considering how much rain we've had. The bunkers are a little dodgy in some places, unfortunately."

Snedeker equalled the lowest first 36 hole score in Open history by adding a flawless 64 to his opening 66, but McDowell had no qualms about making up a six-shot deficit over the final two rounds.

"I'm six behind Brandt Snedeker, but it's just one guy. It's not like it's bunched up in front of me," the 32-year-old added. "I haven't quite gotten into fifth gear. I'm probably still in third gear, fourth gear.

"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. I played college golf with Brandt, I know he's a great player. I'd take a late Sunday afternoon pairing with him right now, snap your hand off for that.

"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."


From Belfast Telegraph