Shane Lowry believes victory in the Ladbrokes.com Irish PGA at Seapoint could help him shake off his tour fatigue and give his Race to Dubai campaign a timely shot in the arm.
The 23-year old is bidding to become just the fourth player to complete the Irish Open - Irish PGA double and join legends Padraig Harrington, Harry Bradshaw and Fred Daly in a highly exclusive club.
But the shock winner of last year’s 3 Irish Open as an amateur at nearby Baltray confessed that he’s getting worn out after a gruelling season and hopes a maiden professional win on Sunday could be the boost he needs.
Second favourite to win the 100th staging of the Irish PGA behind fellow tour star Damien McGrane, Lowry said: “Being the 100th Irish PGA, it would be great to win here. It could be the confidence boost I need for the rest of the season.
“I’m 52nd in the Race to Dubai and I want to make the top 60 who qualify for the Dubai World Championship. But I kind of lost the hunger for the game recently because I have almost played too much this year.
“I’ve played 25 events already and I thought I’d only play 28. Now it looks like it will be 31 or 32. So I took last week off but as I’m obviously not playing the Ryder Cup next week.
“I didn’t want to take three weeks off so this fits perfectly into my schedule. It will be good to keep the game sharp before the Dunhill Links in two weeks’ time.”
The tournament sponsors have put up a €30,000 prize fund while the winner will take home just €3,500, McGrane is gunning for his first Irish PGA.
“You want to win and say I won this tournament in my time and that’s why I’m here,” said McGrane, who is 47th in the Race to Dubai. “I’d like to turn around some day and say, yes, I did win the Irish PGA back in the day. I have an opportunity to do that this week. A win could also be a big confidence-booster.”
Course co-designer Des Smyth, who is bidding for his seventh Irish PGA title at the age of 57, played down his chances despite his recent European Senior Tour win at Woburn.
Winner of the title for the first time 31 years ago, Smyth said: “I wouldn’t say I fancy my chances because there are a lot of young guys who are on the way up and I am on the way down. But I am a trier.”
Selected tee times
9:30 Leslie Walker (Dundalk), Mark Staunton (Foreireland.com), Neil Manchip (GUI National Academy);
9:00 Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny), Philip Walton (Foreireland.com), Connor Mallon (Narin & Portnoo);
9:10 John Kelly (St Margarets), Shane Lowry (Esker Hills), Eamonn Brady (Clontarf);
9:30 Darren McWilliams (Unatt.), David Mortimer (Foreireland.com), Damien McGrane (Unatt.)
14:00 David Higgins (Waterville), Des Smyth (Unatt.), Damian Mooney (Unatt.)