By Brian Keogh
“Little Mac” Damien McGrane says his new found fame won’t change him as a golfer.
Almost unknown by the public before his tour win, the Meath grinder was recognised by a fan as he tucked in at McDonald’s on the Roscrea by-pass this week.
But he says fame hasn’t gone to his head and he’s ready to produce the goods when the chips are down at Adare this week.
Gunning for his second tour win, McGrane said: “People have been glad to see me and people are wishing me well but that’s where it ends.
“There’s no difference for me, I still have to play my own game and I still want to be in contention. If I play well this week, hopefully, I’ll have a chance again at the weekend. But I can’t change what I do. It’s my way or no way.”
He added with a smile: “Sometimes I get recognised. The people I owe money to are coming after me twice as often now!”
Despite the hype surrounding his Volvo China Open breakthrough nearly four weeks ago, McGrane doesn’t feel under more pressure to perform for his fans.
But as one of the shorter hitters on tour, he’s hoping that his accuracy will pay dividends on a monster track measuring 7,453 yards from the tips.
Tied for 12th last year, he explained: “What I want to do is play well and get into contention. Whether it’s the Irish Open, or the PGA or the Wales Open over the next few weeks, I don’t see a difference in terms of performance.
“The course is difficult again this year. The weather is going to be better but the rough is still very thick. It’s difficult to find the correct lines off the tee boxes out there and a lot of the fairways are slightly angled so they play a little bit narrower than what they should.
“But it’s a great test of golf and, as usual, there’s no excuses out there. You’ve got to play well to do well. The greens are good and the bunkers are good. So I’m looking forward to a good week."
Adare Manor is one of the longest tests on tour, but McGrane feel that his accuracy can pay dividends.
He said: “They had us off the very back yesterday and well back again today, so the course is playing very long and it’s playing every inch of it at the moment.
“There’s not much run on the ball, it’s stopping dead off the tee. But I would prefer no run because it means the fairways are a little wider. When there’s no bounce it doesn’t bounce off the fairways and into the rough.
“If you get a good drive away you are probably hitting in a five or six iron and if you’ve a weak tee shot you are probably hitting in a rescue club to the edge of the green and having a chip or a putt.
“It favours the straight hitter. If you miss the fairways you’re penalized. If you are on the fairways you are in control and if you are in the rough that’s it.”