Lowry feeling OK after Rory KO

Lowry feeling OK after Rory KO
Shane Lowry. Picture: Scott Halleran/PGA of America

Shane Lowry. Picture: Scott Halleran/PGA of America

Shane Lowry handed Rory McIlroy a pre-Open Championship spanking and insisted that he's ready to battle his way into contention for the Claret Jug.

The Clara ace might have struggled to put four rounds together this season but after seeing his tactical strategy pay off against McIlroy yesterday, he knows he can be dangerous in the biggest major of them all.

After beating McIlroy 2 and 1 to earn himself a free dinner from the former world No 1, the pride of Offaly was hugely upbeat about his chances of doing well.

He said: "Looking at the way I played the last few days, I feel like I am going to have a good week. 

"I am not even going to go and hit a few balls now. I am just going to do some chipping and putting and then relax.

"The hardest in the world to play golf is on the cut line. If you have five holes to play and you need to play them in level par, you are not going to go at flags. If you are leading a tournament or halfway up the leaderboard. you are going to have a birdie or two on the way in and if you have one or two bogeys, it's not the end of the world. That's where I feel I have been playing golf for a few months so if I can get away from that maybe I can free up a little bit and be more aggressive and more me."

Unlike McIlroy, Lowry can't carry the ball 320 yards through the air but he feels he has the perfect game plan for Carnoustie and that's to play the course as it was meant to be played.

Refusing to believe that bombing the driver will pay off, he said: "I don't think that's going to be the case. 

"I am hitting a few drivers, sure, but I am not hitting it everywhere. I played 18 with Rory today and he is able to take out bunkers everywhere. 

"He had a go at the par-four third today and drove it in the hazard. But he drove up there in front of 11th as well and that's 382 yards.

"He can carry the bunkers on the 14th and I can't so I just play the course the way I know I can play it and the way I have done in the past when I've been successful.

"Personally, I think that if you get yourself in the fairway, more often than not you will have chances."

While the word from the caddyshack is that the likes of US Open champion Brooks Koepka and world No 1 Dustin Johnson are tearing the course apart in practice with their length, Lowry can't see The Open becoming a birdie fest.

He said: "I heard someone saying 12 under will win and I think that's way off. 

"If they tuck the flags away, you will have 40 footers all day and there are only two par fives so you are not going to make that many birdies. 

"Honestly, I think par is a decent number around here. So if I shoot 71 in the morning and I will be happy enough."

Pádraig Harrington, 46, knows that there's nothing physically stopping him from winning The Open.

But like Tiger Woods, he believes it will be a mental battle for survival for the first three days on a track where thinking straight will be key.

When Tiger gets in contention, he will find it easy to kick back to being the steely competitor. 
— Padraig Harrington

Harrington said: "I am capable of hitting the ball like the young guys. It's the mentality I need. 

"Age isn't a barrier at the moment. We will have to see if the mental side is sharp because you have to be sharp for 72 holes. That's the challenge for me."

He admits it's also the challenge for Woods and despite his new, Mr Nice Guy image, he expects the 14-time major winner to be tough to beat if he gets into contention.

Harrington said: "When Tiger gets in contention, he will find it easy to kick back to being the steely competitor. 

"We need a little fire in our belly. When he gets there, he will reset and become that formidable person. I'll tell you what, there won't be too many players will to come up against him down the stretch. 

"People don't change their golfing personalities and I think you would see the steely Tiger back if he got into contention. The difficulty is getting there."

Paul Dunne believes the strategy is simple but it's executing it that's the hard part.

The Greystones star said: "You just have to keep the ball in the fairway and stay out of the bunkers. 

"I can carry it 320 yards in the air, but that's no help unless you can hit it straight. With the weather we are going to get, it's not going to be a level par winning score that's for sure.

"So if you are in the rough all the time, you not going to be able to score."