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McDowell in contention at Irish Open

ESPN staff
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Graeme McDowell made his debut at the tournament in 2002 © Getty Images
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Graeme McDowell heads into the final round of the Irish Open two shots off leader Mikko Ilonen after both players carded rounds of 69 on Saturday.

McDowell has never finished in the top 10 at his national championship, but is in contention for a maiden victory at Fota Island after moving onto 10-under for the tournament following a two-under-par in the third round.

McDowell had four birdies and two bogeys and is third on the leaderboard, behind Englishman Danny Willett in second and leader Ilonen.

"I really enjoyed the crowd interaction today, it's been a fun week and it would be nice to put the icing on the cake tomorrow with a big round," McDowell said. "I'll try and give them what they want tomorrow, an Irish winner, but there's a lot of names on that leaderboard that will have some issues with that.

"Having played in Ryder Cups and Major Championships I guess thankfully I'm experienced with this type of atmosphere and this type of crowd. But there's something a little bit special about the dynamic of the Irish fans and I'd dearly love to give them what they want tomorrow."

Willett set a new course record of eight-under 63, scoring the first hole in one at the Irish Open on the seventh hole.

Ilonen has topped the leaderboard after each round at the tournament so far, and like McDowell had four birdies and two bogeys lead on 12-under and one stroke ahead of Willett.

Irish Open leaderboard

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