Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Shane Lowry  (Getty Images)
Shane Lowry (Getty Images)

Shane Lowry is enjoying his first taste of the atmosphere of professional team golf at the EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM but insists Europe will be all business when they tee off on Friday morning.

Captain Darren Clarke has brought a 12-strong team to Glenmarie Golf & Country Club in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur as Europe look to win the trophy for the first time following a dramatic 10-10 draw in the inaugural event in 2014.

Lowry is part of that team after a brilliant 2015 season which saw him win the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational and finish fifth in The Race to Dubai.

With the Olympics and The Ryder Cup to play for this year, 2016 could prove to be the biggest yet of Lowry's career and, while admitting the feeling off the course is very relaxed among Team Europe, he is determined to get his campaign off to a winning start and bring the trophy home.

"Darren is getting that across a lot," he said.

We need to take this very seriously as a team. At the end of the day, we don't want to be going home Sunday evening with our tail between our legs and we want to go out there and play as best we can - Shane Lowry

"Obviously we need to enjoy ourselves as well, on our downtime and when we are chilling out in the team room, have a laugh or whatever. But when we get on the golf course, be very serious about it and we are definitely looking for a win on Sunday.

"We are all very competitive people. Professional golfers are very competitive people and no matter what we do, if you're playing a game at home with your mates or if you're out here playing EURASIA CUP, it's all the same for me. I'm still trying to play as best I can.

"We'll be really looking to play well this week and hopefully get off to a nice start on Friday and see what happens come Sunday.

"The environment is a little bit different and it's good. Obviously as professional golfers, we play a lot of individual (events), it can become a very selfish game. So to be in a team event and be rooting for the lads, it's going to be fun this week."

Matthew Fitzpatrick is another European making a professional team debut off the back of a breakout season, although he does have Walker Cup experience from 2013.

Great Britain and Ireland were beaten 17-9 by the United States on that occasion but Fitzpatrick picked up two points in the Foursomes, as well as one in the Singles, from his four matches and the British Masters supported by Sky Sports champion is hoping to use that experience.

"I'm playing foursomes and fourballs, last time I did was Walker Cup two years ago," he said. "So I played it then.

"I always enjoy it and it seems like all the lads are enjoying it so far. That's the big thing, you've got to go out there and play as well as you can but at the same time enjoy it.

"I think the big thing is probably the banter within the team. I think everyone on the outside probably thinks we're all so serious and really grim, but it feels like it's just one big laugh.

"Me personally, I haven't stopped laughing all day, playing with (Danny) Willett, Lee (Westwood) and (Ian) Poulter. I really enjoy it and it doesn't feel like there's so much pressure so far. It's good to just keep enjoying it."

While Fitzpatrick and Lowry may be rookies in the team room, Lee Westwood is a veteran of these types of situations, having played on nine Ryder Cup teams, winning seven times.

The 42 year old was a captain's pick for this week, along with Ian Poulter who has five Ryder Cups under his belt, and while he admits that brings some extra pressure, he does not think the younger players around the team will have to look to him for guidance.

"I think Darren probably looked at his team and sees it's a young team," he said. "There's not too much team golf experience in it and he wanted some experience in there. Therefore, he's picked Ian and me.

"Obviously when you're a captain's pick, you feel a little bit more pressure to perform and validate that pick. But I've been a pick for The Ryder Cup a couple of times, and this is the first time I've played the EURASIA CUP.

"I think all the lads that are playing this week are great players in their own right and they really don't need much. They have played on a big stage before, maybe not so much team golf but I'm sure they have played a bit of team golf coming through the amateur ranks, things like that.

"But it's the same principle as anything else: You try to hit it down the middle, hit it close and then make the putt. That takes care of most forms of golf.

"Obviously this week and later on in the year, you're representing Europe, but you try to not let that get in the way and not let that kind of thinking get in the way and just do your own thing, play your own game, and the game that got you into the team. Hopefully that's good enough to win your points."

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