Although he may walk with a slight limp this week on the flat Royal Liverpool terrain, Seamus Power is confident he can turn a rather underwhelming year around at the 151st Open Championship.
Power arrives in Hoylake very much under the radar having withdrawn after nine holes of the Genesis Scottish Open last week with a hip injury and he is yet to record a top-10 finish since the turn of the year. Hardly a recipe for success but after undergoing an MRI scan last week, physically he feels fit and ready to go.
“Today I was way better like the last few days were a little better. As soon as I got the all clear that I was kind of waiting for out soon, as the MRI came back all clear, I was pleased,” explained Power after completing the back nine around Hoylake on Wednesday morning.
“At least, it was just going to be sore but am able to manage it so it’s better. The speed has been down for a while with it, but it’s getting a little better today and it was as good as it felt now for a few weeks it was going nice. But yeah, I’ve just been managing it. The boys in the truck are brilliant. And I was working with them again this afternoon and hopefully ready to go tomorrow.
“It was sore for a while but then something popped on the course on 13th, so my fourth hole yesterday. It had been stiff and wasn’t moving the best for a while but it was manageable. Last week there was pain and I was kind of worried I wasn’t sure what it was going to be or whatever. So I went and got an MRI done on Friday in Edinburgh and got the scans back the next day and from there on and it was just me trying to talk to physios and see what kind of a plan for getting ready for this week.”
Power made three out of four major cuts last season but bowed out at the halfway stage of the 150th Open at St Andrews. As he prepares to make his second Claret Jug appearance, it feels like now is the time the Waterford man rekindles his fading Ryder Cup bid.
The two-time PGA Tour winner completed nine holes in 29 strokes en route to a 13th place finish at the recent John Deere Classic and he feels his game is starting to turn a corner having struggled with his iron play for much of the year – an element that will be very important this week.
“The game feels really good you know. I came out early in the year and it was just off, and you’re just trying to find it like, little by little, kind of. You don’t have a lot of time off so you’re kind of playing and still trying to figure it out so it was a bit a little bit slower.
“But yeah, John Deere was was very cool. Like, I haven’t had stretches like that for a while, probably since last year or so it was nice to see, at least my own game. I know I’m getting close when I’m stringing together birdies and good stretches like that. And I was disappointed with last week (Scotland) because I liked the course and stuff but it feels like the game continues to feel very good, so looking forward to it.
“Sometimes you know you can go down the wrong hole. It’s been my iron play for the most part, but for the first time now this year I’ve really that’s I think that’s a good sign. That’s why I liked the John Deere. I was top 10 in approach to green which I hadn’t been, think I’d been 130th to 40th on the year which is a big, you know it’s a lot of shots. When you see the guys that are like top of that list, it’s all the guys you’d expect to be up there. So it’s that’s been the biggest one. It’s costing me a lot of shots or to see a John Deere kind of flip, that was very encouraging and it feels very good. It’s different iron shots here in this week but still once you have to control the ball that you’ve got a good chance.”
Power has been drawn alongside fellow countryman and two-time Open winner Pádraig Harrington as well as Taylor Gooch who he enjoys playing with. Perhaps a good omen as he looks to change his fortunes.
“Honestly I was delighted when I saw it I saw yesterday like I played practice with Padraig but never in competition so we’re really looking forward to it. Last time I played with Talor he won in Sea Island. He’s a lovely ball striker lovely player as well, but to play with Padraidg is something special, especially here at the Open so it’s something I’ve been looking forward to.
“I really like the golf course. Like it was funny, I played British Boys, It’s been 20 years, but I remember thinking it was a fantastic course and seeing it again Monday, kind of just reminded me why. I think it suits me like I feel very comfortable the last few days. It’s designed very well. You’re standing on tees and it gives you enough visual to know where you’re trying to hit it without making it easy. It’s just, it’s very well designed, very clever. You got to make some decisions and sometimes you got to kind of have to fight the urge to try and hit driver and stuff like that. So I think it’s it’s going to be a good test for guys and guys will get frustrated to hit some of those bunkers and, who knows what’s gonna happen then? So I think it does certainly suit but I’ll see soon.”