“I like Shane. He’s a funny guy. He’s a character.”
The reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry could not have been afforded a better compliment than that by one of his playing partners for the opening two rounds of the 102nd PGA Championship.
The compliments being afforded Lowry were by four-time major winning Brooks Koepka with the American, along with reigning US Open champion, Gary Woodland playing partners for Thursday and Friday over the TPC Harding Park course.
Lowry has come to know Koepka well through the American’s Irish-born caddy, Ricky Elliott who was born in Castlerock in Co. Derry.
And that friendship has led to Lowry and Koepka playing many practice rounds in each other’s company, as Koepka explained.
“I enjoy playing with Shane and I’ve played a lot with him at the Floridian during lockdown,” said Koepka.
“I got to play with him and another buddy, Stephen Grant, maybe six, seven times. It was fun. I enjoyed the competition, trying to battle into something for being off for three months.
“Shane is a good player. Drives it really well. He hits a tight little draw. Great short game, and he’s going to be right there come Sunday.”
The Birr-born Grant is the former Shamrock Rovers forward who now resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Grant has many business interests in the U.S. and being a pretty good golfer himself, he found his way into becoming a member of the Bear’s Club and for many years has been one of Koepka’s social golfing buddies.
Lowry will be making his ninth PGA Championship appearance since his debut in 2010 at Whistling Straits.
And the Clara golfer will be looking to become the first back-to-back major champion in five years since Jordan Spieth won the 2015 Masters and the following 2015 US Open.
Koepka also has a hopeful historic goal and that is to become the first to win three successive PGA Championships since Walter Hagen (who actually won four from 1924-27).
Of course, Woodland has ideas of his own agenda and that is to also join Koepka as a US Open and PGA Championship winner.
The trio will tee-off on day one at 8.11am (local US time) or 4.11pm Irish from the 10th tee on the TPC Harding Park course located on the shoreline of Lake Merced and less than 10 miles south of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.
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