Lowry keeps it simple
 Defending chamon Graeme McDowell (left) watches as Shane Lowry hits his first US Open drive in Monday practice at Congressional CC. The Offaly man successfully found the 11th fairway.

Defending chamon Graeme McDowell (left) watches as Shane Lowry hits his first US Open drive in Monday practice at Congressional CC. The Offaly man successfully found the 11th fairway.

Laid back Shane Lowry has reduced his tactics to one simple rule this week - Hit the fairway.

The Clara star, 24, makes his US Open debut at Congressional Country Club hoping to take another giant step towards a second Open appearance in July.

But he knows that if he must stay on the straight and narrow this week if is to make the fat cheque he needs to grab one of two spots at Sandwich from a mini Order of Merit.

After a practice round alongside defending champion Graeme McDowell, Lowry laughed when asked about his course strategy.

He beamed: “Strategy? There’s no strategy except hit driver on every hole. You just have to stand up there and hit the fairway.

“There are a few holes from right to left which doesn’t really suit my eye but I am driving the ball so well at the minute that straight shots are fine.”

Congressional is the second longest course in US Open history but accuracy will be far more important than length. And that’s great news for Lowry, who is driving the ball better than ever and playing some of the best golf of his life.

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Lowry crunches a huge drive dow the par-five 16th on Monday morning.Relaxed about his debut in the US Open, he said: “The tournament is obviously bigger that the usual event but I just rocked up here to do my usual thing.  I am easy going, lads. I’m just here to do my own thing and see how I get on.

“If I can have a good week this week it will help in the mini order or merit that gets you into the Open. With Rockie (Robert Rock) winning in Italy, I don’t know what I need. But if I can do well, I can pass a few guys and get into the Open.

“You’ve just got to hit the fairway and make sure you don’t short side yourself around the greens, that’s the main thing.

Some the greeside rough is very thick.“I’ve got to say I like what I see. The rough isn’t too bad, especially around the greens and there are a few run offs, which is nice.  I prefer that. It brings the skill of chipping a little more into play, which suits me a little bit.”

Lowry is not overawed by the course but knows that the greens will be the fastest he’s ever faced with reports that they will run at 14 1/2 on the stimpmeter when he tees off in the first group off the 10th at 7am on Thursday.

He said: “I’m not surprised by anything. It is everything I expected really. It is long and you have got to hit the ball really well.

“But there are no real easy birdie chances and the greens are going to be like lightning come Thursday. It’s not what I am used to but I am going to have to deal with it.”