It is 10-years since a then very unheralded Shane Lowry gladly gave-up a half million euro victory payout in capturing the 2009 Irish Open at Baltray.
Lowry defied everyone, except an overwhelming rain-drenched partisan home crowd, in historically landing the Irish Open trophy at his very first attempt.
Being an amateur, the then 22-year old had to forfeit the whopping first prize cheque though there was the luxury when he turned pro a fortnight later of a two-and-a-year European Tour exemption.
Now a decade on, and with close to €13m in career earnings on the European Tour alone, Lowry heads the Irish challenge into this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch.
History also beckons for the Offaly golfer as he seeks to become the first in the history of the event since it was first held in 1927 to win as both an amateur and as a professional.
“The first Irish Open I remember was Sergio Garcia’s win at Druids Glen in 1999, and then the first Irish Open I attended was when I went to Portmarnock in 2005, when Michael Campbell won,” Lowry recalled in his PaddyPower blog.
“Then I was lucky enough to win it 10 years ago at Baltray as an amateur and the win really kick-started my career.
“It’s why the Irish Open is definitely my fifth Major and that is how I prepare for it like I would for the other four.
“I enjoy playing in front of the home crowds. Even though it can bring its own difficulties, it’s great to have family and friends there close by.
“I didn’t really set myself goals at the start of the season, but obviously to win the tournament again would go without saying.”
And while he’s been back home of late, Lowry’s been using his time wisely, re-familiarising himself with the Lahinch layout.
“I’ve been down to Lahinch a couple of times before playing the Canadian and US Open and last week when I got back, and I’d rarely do that for a regular event,” Lowry added.
“The tournament deserves an Irish player go deep into the final round. I’d love to give myself a chance of doing it and the weekend in Lahinch would be amazing if one of the Irish lads could do it.
“We’ll all be watching if an Irishman goes down the 18th on Sunday in contention.”
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