Open 2015: Graeme McDowell upbeat for St Andrews challenge

McDowell happy with Open preparations
144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews Dates: 16-19 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, Radio 5 live, sports extra, tablets, mobiles and app.

A rejuvenated Graeme McDowell believes his game is peaking at the right time for this week's Open at St Andrews.

The 2010 US Open winner, from Northern Ireland, has slipped from 15th to 55th in the world rankings this year after a poor start to the season.

However, he was in contention at the Scottish Open last week and feels confident going into the major.

"I'd love to get my name on the Claret Jug and this is one of the venues where I think I could do it," said McDowell.

The 35-year-old, from Portrush, said last month that his motivation for working on the range had dipped following the birth of his daughter Vale, but his appetite for the game has returned.

McDowell was in a tie for second after two rounds in the Scottish Open but fell back over the weekend to finish joint 31st.

Graeme McDowell says the absence of injured Rory McIlroy from the Open is a 'massive blow'
Graeme McDowell says the absence of Rory McIlroy from the Open is a "massive blow"

His impressive record at St Andrews includes making a play-off in the 2004 Dunhill Links Championship.

"I was decent last week, particularly in the first two rounds, and the confidence is coming back," he added.

"I feel like I am turning the corner. I'm starting to play better and I just need some results to back that up.

"It's not been that good a season but this week could be a phenomenal week to turn things round."

McDowell will miss his friend and compatriot Rory McIlroy, with the defending champion and world number one pulling out of the Open because of an ankle ligament damage.

"When the number one golfer is not playing in a major tournament, it is a massive blow," he said.

"I think he would have had a phenomenal chance around this course - it would have been tailor-made for him."

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