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Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 12:43 UK

McDowell relaxed for Birkdale bid

Graeme McDowell
Graeme McDowell is a 33/1 shot to win the Open this week

Graeme McDowell will be going with a "chilled out" approach to the Open at Birkdale after capturing the Scottish Open title on Sunday.

The Ulsterman has all but secured his Ryder Cup place and he has leapt from 59th to 29th in the world rankings.

"I've played so much golf up to this point that everything is in automatic pilot," said the Portrush player.

"The swing is in good shape and it's just a matter of getting our game plan set up for Birkdale."

McDowell's two-stroke success took him from 10th to sixth in the Ryder Cup standings and up to second in the European Order of Merit.

The 28-year-old has mixed memories from his four Open appearances.

He led after the first round at Hoylake in 2006 and finished tied 11th the year before, but he has also twice missed the cut.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Iain Carter

McDowell, who was brought up on the links of Royal Portrush, admits Loch Lomond did not provide the best preparation for Birkdale.

"Yes, it is not the ideal preparation for the Open being a soft, bombers track.

"Birkdale is going to be a lot firmer and your short game is going to be completely different.

"However, I did have a nice bump and run with a six-iron on the 13th.

"I turned and joked with my caddie: 'Who says this is not ideal preparation for next week'."

McDowell will be the only Northern Ireland player in the Open field after Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy failed to qualify.




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