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Former Open champ McDowell: wet Merion still plenty tough

Graeme McDowell keeps hearing the predictions that golfers are going to overwhelm the soft course at Merion with low scores. He's just not buying any of it.

"It's going to be a good test of golf ... It takes a slight bit of intimidation out of it," McDowell said. "But I think the golf course has enough defense."

McDowell said he doesn't expect to see many rounds of 62 or 63 as some have suggested. Likewise, he doesn't anticipate scores approaching Rory McIlroy's Open record minus-16 at a soggy Congressional in 2011.

"I'll take 8-under par right now and take my chances," McDowell said.

McDowell, the 2010 Open champion at Pebble Beach and runnerup last year at Olympic, said he plans to get his first up-close look at the course during a practice round Tuesday afternoon.
But he's studied the course enough to be wary despite the conditions.

"There are 10 or 11 holes that are as tough as any U.S. Open I've seen," McDowell said. "You have to hang on for dear life the last five holes."

-- Tim McManus