Shane Lowry admits if he can ‘express himself’ and also stay out of the extreme rough, he could be holding two major championship trophies at the end of this week’s U.S. Open.
Lowry joins Rory McIlroy as the only Irish teeing-up later today (THURS) in the 121st staging of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines just to the north of San Diego. It will be Lowry’s 10th showing in a U.S. Open since making his debut in 2011 at the Congressional club, where McIlroy led from start to finish to capture the first of four majors.
Lowry’s no stranger to a good showing in a U.S. Open in picking-up back-to-back top-10s with a ninth in 2015 and then a year later where he led by four shots going into the final round ahead of an eventual share of second behind Dustin Johnson at Oakmont.
In keeping with the old adage that sometimes you first have to lose a major before you win one, Lowry did just that three years later in capturing the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. And now in his last major before next month handing back the Claret Jug, the Clara golfer is fiercely determined, as evident in sharing fourth with fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington in the recent PGA Championship, to become a double major champion.
“I have more expectations of myself than anyone else would have of me”, said Lowry. “I sometimes go into tournaments with a bit too much expectation of myself. There is something about this week that I feel like my form’s been good. I’m playing quite well. I’m quite happy where my game is at.
“Just because you’ve been playing well or just because you’ve got some good results, golf doesn’t owe you anything. Golf will give you nothing, and you need to go out there and work for everything you get. I need to go out there and be myself and express myself and allow myself to play the best golf I can, and I hope that’s good enough come Sunday.”
If Lowry has any fear, it is the Torrey Pines rough with the U.S. Open again allowing the rough on the South Course to be so deep you could lose a club, let alone a golf ball. Ian Poulter’s ‘hide and seek’ video tweet of his ball buried in the rough has generated nearly 150,000 views.
“I think the rough is actually too thick,” said Lowry. “The rough being so thick actually takes a little bit of the skill level out of it. When it’s off a tight lie, I think that’s when there’s more skill involved. There’s a lot of times where you get around the greens and missing the green and it’s a bit of a hit-and-hope and a bit of luck involved.
“Yeah, hopefully, I think it’s all about leaving yourself in the right spots and taking the big numbers off the card. Let your mistakes be bogeys and try and make your birdies when you get your chances. Though in saying that, tournaments are won on the greens and give me a really good putting week, and I’ll hopefully be there or thereabouts”.
Lowry finds himself grouped with fellow Open Champions Henrik Stenson (2016) and Francesco Molinari (2018) for the opening two rounds, in the richest major in the history of the game.
The total purse this week is €10.3m ($US 12.5)
IRISH TEE TIMES (Irish time)
- Shane Lowry 3.29pm 9.14pm
- Rory McIlroy 9.36pm 3.51pm