In June 2010, a year after winning his National open as an amateur at Baltray, Shane Lowry breezed through Open qualifying with a scintillating 62 at Sunningdale, a score that equalled Nick Faldo’s course record and one that still stands today.
Lowry’s reward was a first Major championship appearance at the Home of Golf where he played all four rounds at St Andrews and eventually finished in a tie for 37th at one-under par.
That year Lowry finished 15 shots behind a runaway winner in Louis Oosthuizen and although the Clara star has since gone on to capture his first Claret Jug at Portrush in 2019, even with that unforgettable home soil experience to draw upon, Lowry admits that no tournament can compare to those at St Andrews.
“St Andrews itself is such an amazing place, the town, just everything about it,” said Lowry who spent Tuesday night beside Lee Trevino at the past champions dinner.
— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) July 13, 2022
“I feel very fortunate that it was my first one. We play a lot of big tournaments around the world and The Open venues that we go to are all really special but for me, the best and most special tournament in the world is The Open at St Andrews.
“When you get announced on that first tee at St Andrews, whether it’s the Dunhill or a practice round, it’s just special. And it’s probably one of the only courses in the world where I go to and I actually really enjoy playing my practice rounds.”
Like the rest of us, Lowry is a kid at heart when it comes to the Open Championship having grown up watching the tournament on the BBC each year before heading off to Esker Hills where he’d imagine holing the winning putt on the local greens.
“I always remember watching The Open as a kid and it was just on all day,” Lowry recalled. “I obviously remember Tiger at St Andrews but one that sticks out is Tiger at Hoylake where he barely hit a driver for the whole week.
“Obviously Paddy’s two wins as well in ‘07 and ‘08 stick out and I think the trophy really makes it for me. The Claret Jug is just such an amazing piece of history and such an amazing trophy.
“I’ll be forever grateful that I got to achieve something like that. The fact that my name is on that trophy and when you look at it, it will never be taken away. That’s pretty cool.”
Far from resting on his laurels, Lowry remains driven to add to his Claret Jug accomplishment but although he’s become an elite event specialist in recent years, he admits it’s hard to fine-tune your game so it peaks for four weeks a year, though that won’t stop him trying.
“Obviously I’d love to win more Majors but I don’t think that’s a given,” Lowry said.
“It’s hard to peak your game for those weeks. It’s hard to peak your mental attitude for those weeks. You just need everything to be in the right place to win those tournaments because it’s so hard to win out here in regular events, let alone Majors.
“If I was to finish with no more Majors, would I be okay with that? Yeah. But I do want more. I’m a very driven and very competitive guy. I know I want to win more Majors, and I want to win more tournaments.”
Listen to this week’s Open Championship Preview Podcast