Portrush native Graeme McDowell has been taken aback by seeing the Open Championship being staged in his home town.

"It's a proud moment to see it come together," said the 2010 US Open champion, who only qualified for the year's final major with a top-10 finish in the Canadian Open last month.

"You get more of an idea of the size and infrastructure that goes with this tournament when you see it happening in your home town.

"I've never seen the town look so great and the buzz from the people the last few days has been incredible. It felt like there were 10,000 people around the first tee yesterday and I felt nervous on a Tuesday." 

After failing to qualify for the Open in 2017 and 2018, McDowell is hoping to use the support of the crowds to his advantage this week.

"I'm trying to picture the crowd as a Ryder Cup crowd, using it positively rather than negatively," he added.

"I have really tried the last few days to double my normal patience levels at a tournament and embrace the fact that people want pictures and autographs and just go with whatever everybody wanted." 

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