‘If there’s an Irishman top of the leaderboard on Sunday I hope it’s me!’

Ronan MacNamara

Shane Lowry (Photo by Stuart Kerr/R&A via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Rónán MacNamara in Royal Liverpool

Shane Lowry is feeling confident about his chances of winning a second Claret Jug ahead of the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Lowry and Rory McIlroy flocked to the Hoylake fairways before 7am on Tuesday morning in order to dodge the incoming late morning rain – a shrewd move as a heavy deluge began to fall as the Offaly man made his way to the assembled Irish media at the back of the 18th green.

The 2019 Open champion was in good spirits and had a quiet confidence about his game ahead of his 10am tee time on Thursday which means he will have his preferred early, late draw which played to his advantage at Royal Portrush.

“It’s always nice coming back especially when your name is on the trophy. It doesn’t give me any God-given right to go out and play well. It probably adds a bit more pressure. It’s how you deal with it.  If I can give myself a chance on Sunday, that’s all I want,” said Lowry.

“I got a lot from last week. Happy how yesterday and today went. Putted alright last few weeks, part of my game I struggled with. It’s nice when your name is on Claret Jug, certain memories come back. I still want a lot from this week. I want to play well. I’ve a lot to play for . One other fella (Rory) playing pretty well. Be great if we can give ourselves Hope there is an Irishman on top of the leaderboard (on Sunday)….I hope it’s me!”

Lowry posted his first major top-10 at Hoylake in 2014 – when McIlroy reigned supreme – amazingly he missed every cut in the Open Championship after his T9 finish until he won in 2019.

The 36-year-old is hoping this is the week he can merge all facets of his game together.

“At certain stages my game is great, it just hasn’t come together. I don;t know what it is. Hard to put my finger on it. Stat patient, keep putting myself there, keep putting in good scores, that’s the key.

“I think you’ll have to hit a lot of fairways and be in control of your ball. There is a lot of mid irons out here. A lot of laying back to 165-170 yards, leaving six, seven or eight. Distance control needs to be spot on. Playing in wind and cross winds I’d love all parts of my game….. I feel if I can drive the ball well and putt well I can do well around here.”

Hoylake has been a happy hunting ground for Irish players both amateur and professional over the years with McIlroy and Fred Daly lifting the Claret Jug here while Joe Carr won an Amateur Championship.

So if McIlroy or Lowry come up short, he was asked about the chances of the evergreen Padraig Harrington.

Lowry said: “He’s playing well, isn’t he? He’s shooting good scores every time he plays. Last week he just didn’t put four rounds together. He’d a bad day Sunday. Chatting to Noel Fox last week, who does a bit of coaching with him now, and he’s hitting it as far and as good as he ever has, even at 51. Paddy is the type of person who can do anything. So you never know. He certainly thinks he can (win), I know that.”

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