Shane Lowry will make his much-anticipated homecoming this week at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, the second Rolex Series event of the season at Lahinch Golf Club, ten years on from his famous victory as an amateur which kickstarted his professional career.
The popular Offaly player won his national open at Baltray in 2009 when he sank the winning putt on the third extra play-off hole to claim the title in dramatic fashion over Robert Rock, and now returns to the famous Wild Atlantic Way coast of Ireland with form once again on his side.
Earlier this season, the 32-year-old claimed his first European Tour title in three and a half years in the maiden Rolex Series event of 2019, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA in January, and more recently finished tied eighth at the US PGA Championship in May.
"I'm feeling good, it's probably the best form-wise I've ever come into an Irish Open but I'm doing my best to try and play down my expectations and just go out there and enjoy it as much as I can," said the world number 35, the top-ranked Irish player in the field.
"I think golfers are like that. We're not like boxers, we don't stand there and say 'I'm definitely going to win'.
"I know how fickle this game is and I know as soon as you feel like you have it mastered it can jump up and bite you quicker than you expect.
"I will have expectations of doing well this week, I wouldn't be here if I didn't, but I'm just trying to play them down in my own head and just play my own game.
"I don't think anything would top 2009 but I don't even want to start thinking about what it would mean to me to win the Irish Open again. I come and play every year and do my best.
"Hopefully I've got another good 15 or 20 Irish Opens in me, hopefully I give myself a few chances (to win) and if I do, I'll be giving it my best to take it with both hands.
"The golf course is somewhere you can get a score going but it can get away from you fairly quickly out there as well so I just need to take it one shot at a time, try and shoot as good a score as I can on Thursday and see where it leaves me.
"I've been doing it quite well all season, just hit your first tee shot and walk after it, hit the next one and keep going.
"Just try and shoot good scores day in day out.
"No matter what I shoot today I've got to shoot a good score tomorrow. That's the way I'm going about my business this year."
Meanwhile, defending champion Russell Knox hopes his return to the event, this time on the famous County Clare links, can give him a first win of 2019.
The Scot added his name to the illustrious list of champions at Ballyliffin Golf Club in thrilling fashion 12 months ago, holing a 45-foot birdie putt to force a play-off before sinking another similar-length effort on the first extra hole to beat New Zealand’s Ryan Fox.
Tournament host Paul McGinley is overseeing this week's event and has attempted to give the players the ideal preparation for the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush in two weeks.
The four-time European Tour winner, and Ryder Cup winning Captain, is happy with how those plans have been executed so far and is also thrilled with the impressive ticket sales, with only limited tickets remaining for Saturday and Sunday.
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