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Hunter Mahan
Hunter Mahan heads for Turnberry feeling more confident than ever about his game. (Redington/Getty Images)

On a serious roll, Mahan can't wait to return to Turnberry

Hunter Mahan has never played an Open at Turnberry, but he's one of only a few Americans who has competitive experience there. And the fact that he's coming off a stretch in which he's scored three straight top-10s on the PGA Tour only adds to his excitement.

TURNBERRY, Scotland (PA) -- A course record-equaling round and a third top-10 PGA Tour finish in a row has got U.S. Ryder Cup star Hunter Mahan dreaming of big things for the Open Championship at Turnberry next weeks.

Mahan shot a 62 at the par-70 Congressional Country Club's Blue Course last week to earn second place behind Tiger Woods at the AT&T National. The finish followed a tie for sixth with Woods at the U.S. Open last month and tie for fourth in the Travelers Championship the previous week.

The 27-year-old's strong finish at Congressional also equaled the course record set in the first round by defending champion Anthony Kim.

And such is Mahan's recent form -- he also matched Woods exactly in fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts per round statistics -- that he is feeling extremely upbeat heading to Scotland's west coast for the Open.

"I've got a lot of confidence in what I'm doing and the player I'm turning into," Mahan said. "I feel like I can win every tournament that I play in, so that's always a good feeling.

"I'm very proud of how I played. I can't really think into the future but I'm excited about what I'm doing right now,” he added. “I feel I can't wait for the British Open to start. I'm really looking forward to that week. I love playing over there.

"This gives me a lot of confidence that I know I can shoot a low round at any given point."

Mahan, still looking for the second victory of his professional career after an initial win in 2007 at the Travelers, has decided rest and recuperation for a week following a successful three-week stint in the States is the best preparation before heading to Turnberry.

"I'll probably put my clubs away, probably won't see them for a while. I've been on the road for three weeks, playing great for three weeks, but it's been a grind,” he said. "Anytime you play an Open it's a grind, and especially this year being five days of that. And then playing last week, kind of being in the hunt there a little bit, I was behind Kenny (Perry) and Kenny played great.

"But I'm just going to throw them away, relax. I want to be fresh, because any time you play a major it's tough. It's going to be tough,” he added. "Turnberry, I've heard it's a great course. I haven't seen it, but I know it's going to be hard, so I need to be mentally rested and really focused on the task at hand."

Another American with reason to celebrate a top-five finish behind Woods at the AT&T National was Bryce Molder, whose prize money for fourth place was enough to earn him an exemption into the Open.

Molder jumped to the top of the money winners' list in a six-tournament PGA Tour series that began at the Players Championship in May, with the top two earning a tee time at Turnberry.

Molder topped the list with $856,100, having leapfrogged Paul Goydos, who finished second with $772,427.

With the Open having last visited Turnberry in 1994, the two-time Walker Cup player revealed he will be one of the few American entrants to have played there.

"I've never played in the Open Championship," Molder said. "I've played in the Palmer Cup and the Walker Cup, match play events in amateur golf and college golf.

"I love playing golf over there,” he said. “I played Turnberry once, and it was just magnificent, so I'm looking forward to going back."

 

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