By Ed Osmond
GULLANE, Scotland (Reuters) - Adam Scott and Justin Rose won the year's first two major titles and American Brandt Snedeker would be delighted to complete a hat-trick of 32-year-old maiden major champions at this week's British Open.
The American world number eight led last year's Open at Lytham after two rounds and confirmed his place among the sport's elite by winning the season-ending Tour Championship.
He also jointly led the U.S. Masters with Argentine Angel Cabrera after three rounds and, bidding to land his first major at Muirfield, will try to draw inspiration from the performances of Scott and Rose at the Masters and U.S. Open.
"I've been told about that a few times and I loved it," Snedeker told a news conference on Tuesday.
"The precedent has been set and now the hard part is making sure it keeps going. I'll take any little quirky thing and use it in my favor."
Snedeker played near flawless golf for 36 holes at Lytham 12 months ago, shooting rounds of 66 and 64 to lead the field.
But he began to toil off the tee over the weekend, struggling to 73 and 74 in the third and fourth rounds to finish tied for third behind champion Ernie Els and Scott.
"I learned a lot in the last four majors," said Snedeker who will partner Els and Rose in the first two rounds here on Thursday and Friday. "I learned a lot from watching Adam win at the Masters.
"I learned a lot watching Justin the first two days at the U.S. Open. Just about the patience that's required and the process you have to go through.
"The hardest thing to do in a major championship is be patient for 72 holes and never push the panic button. The guy that wins this week will not do that. Never hit the panic button."
He does not, however, believe that nerves ended his Lytham challenge.
"I don't think it did," he said. "I just made typical American mistakes. The first two days I had no wind really whatsoever and played great golf. The last 36 holes I drove the ball horribly.
"If you do that at any major championship, you're going to play terrible," Snedeker added. "I wasn't impatient but I just failed to execute the basic shots off the tees."
Snedeker made a point at Lytham of seeking out local hostelries to enjoy a few beers and he is doing the same at Muirfield in the company of his caddie and coach.
"I always try to find a spot for the week to have a few pints and enjoy the locals," he said.
"You're travelling with your agent, your caddie, your swing instructor, so you end up hanging out with them all week, having some fun and seeing the other guys out there," he said.
"To be at a guy's event where you're having a few pints at night and having a great time, it's fun. Something different."
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)