It’s clear that Shane Lowry thrives on the bigger stage and as his performances around Augusta have continued to improve, so too have his hopes of becoming the first Irishman to don the famous Green Jacket.
Of all the golf courses in the world, few favour experience quite like Augusta National. The Georgia gem’s nuances are stealthily hidden, but as Lowry has learned through repetition, the course reveals itself to you the more often you make the drive up Magnolia Lane.
This year will be Lowry’s seventh appearance at the Masters, and his results are trending towards a big showing in 2022. It was only two years ago, when the Masters was staged in November, that a deflated Lowry walked off the course on Thursday after posting an opening 74, saying: “I can’t seem to get my head around this place.”
Since then Lowry has managed his two best finishes around Augusta and with a tie for 21st his best result to date he believes he is getting to grips of how to deal with the seasons opening Major.
“Things are going well now” said a quietly confident Lowry. “I’m playing nice golf, shooting low scores, and feeling comfortable out there. I do feel great coming here, my game is in pretty good shape.”
Knowing how a patient game can be rewarded around Augusta National, Lowry watched Tiger up close and personal for three rounds in 2020 and is still drawing from that experience.
“You learn a lot from playing out here. Two years ago with Tiger I learned a lot about how to play the course. Certain holes, certain shots I might have gone at it differently until I’ve seen what he does. It changes your attitude towards the place. I am starting to figure out the place little bit better. I struggled here first couple of years, made mistakes where you shouldn’t be making them.” He added.
“I was playing the course a bit different then and I have started looking at options to do something different this week to take trouble out of play. It’s all about hitting the shot that’s in front of me this week. That’s all I can focus on.”
That change in attitude along with a good run of form has The Clara man being spoken about as a possible contender and it’s a position Lowry is more than comfortable with.
“I know there’s expectations on me. I put them on myself. I know people are talking. I need to go out and be me. Results have been pretty solid last year, I’m shooting some good scores.” He added “Not far off a win a few weeks ago and I feel like I’m up there most weeks.”
“I want to go out and perform. There’s no doubt I want be standing on Sunday with that green jacket. I know if I play my best stuff and get a few breaks, that could be me. That’s what gets me out in the morning.”
With Tuesday’s practice a wash out, many players will be scrambling to get the last few reps in on Wednesday but a few days early practice last week has Lowry ready for action. “I played 45 holes here last Monday and Tuesday, nine holes on Monday and 9 again yesterday before the storm came in. Even if I don’t play any more holes before Thursday, I’m ready. I know the golf course.”
“The six inches between my ears is what it’s all about for me this week.” Lowry will tee off on Thursday at 15:01 Irish time with Kevin Na and Max Homa
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