Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington’s hopes of adding to their haul of Majors faded on day two of the British Open by Graeme McDowell is well in the hunt.
McIlroy and Harrington have been paired together for the third round but at two over par, their chances of catching leader Brandt Snedeker (-10) are remote.
Defending champion Darren Clarke failed to make the cut.
McDowell, however, 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 Snedeker. Aussie Adam Scott is just one behind the leader with Tiger Woods also lurking menacingly on six under par.
The American 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.”