Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

I’ve gotten better since 2019 Open win

By admin Jun10,2024

Shane Lowry hits a shot during the Canadian Open

Shane Lowry will play at this week’s Memorial Tournament in Ohio before his latest bid to win a second major at next week’s US Open [Getty Images]

Shane Lowry has built a hugely impressive CV in professional golf since he catapulted himself on to the scene by winning the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur.

In his 15 years on tour, the 37-year-old Irishman has tucked away seven professional wins, spent time inside the world’s top 20 and helped Europe win back the Ryder Cup in Rome last year.

Lowry’s defining achievement to date, of course, came at The Open Championship in Royal Portrush in 2019, his victory one of the more stirring recent major triumphs as golf’s oldest championship returned to Northern Ireland after a 68-year absence.

Lowry was unstoppable that week, finishing six shots clear of Tommy Fleetwood to claim the Claret Jug.

In the five years since becoming the Champion Golfer of the Year, Lowry has managed just one individual win – the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September 2022 (he won the Zurich Classic alongside Rory McIlroy earlier this year).

Despite that, the world number 33 feels he is a superior competitor to the one who covered Royal Portrush in 269 shots (15 under par) in the last pre-Covid major.

“I feel like the glass is always half full with me. I feel like I’m a better player now than I was in 2019,” Lowry says when asked if he feels close to recapturing his Open-winning form.

Lowry reacts to his missed putt on the 18th green at ValhallaLowry reacts to his missed putt on the 18th green at Valhalla

Lowry was inches away from carding a major record 61 during the third round of the US PGA Championship at Valhalla [Getty Images]

“There are parts of my game that are definitely better. There are parts I can always improve on but the form I’m in, I played OK in Canada last week, not amazing, and played lovely in Valhalla.

“I certainly feel like a better player than I was then. Maybe that’s just the positive golfer coming out in me.”

The “lovely” golf at Valhalla to which Lowry refers helped him finish in a tie for sixth at the US PGA Championship, his best finish in a major since the 2022 Masters.

His scorching, record-tying Saturday 62 on the Louisville layout had set him up for a tilt at a second major, and while a final-round 70 left him frustrated, his game appears in fine shape ahead of next week’s US Open and the Open at Royal Troon in mid-July.

This year’s US Open returns to Pinehurst No.2 for the first time since 2014, and while Lowry missed the cut 10 years ago, he is relishing another crack at the demanding North Carolina course.

“I remember really struggling on the grass around there, around the greens, the grain,” Lowry recalls of 2014.

“But since then, I’ve moved to Florida and I play on that grass week in, week out so I imagine it won’t cause me as much trouble.

“The course will need iron play and straight driving off the tee. If I go there with my game in shape, I feel like I can do something.”

Open at Portmarnock would be ‘amazing’

Lowry, who will use this week’s Memorial Tournament to fine-tune his game for Pinehurst, is also excited to return to Portrush for the Open in 2025.

And while the Dunluce Links will forever hold a special place in his heart, Lowry says it would be “amazing” to see Portmarnock given the chance to host the Open in the future.

Last year, the R&A said it was keen to “investigate the possibility” of staging the Open at the Dublin club.

While the Open has never been held outside of the United Kingdom, Portmarnock hosted the men’s Amateur Championship in 2019 with the women’s event being played there later this month.

Lowry said: “When will it happen? I don’t know, I hope it happens in my career, it would be great but we’ll have to wait and see the people at the top, what decisions they make.

“There’s a lot more that goes into it than just saying ‘we’re going to have it there’.

“There’s a lot of infrastructure and what needs to happen with the golf course. It would be great but having it back in Portrush next year is great as well, to have it anywhere on the island, I’m very excited about that.”


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