Irish Open: Shane Lowry hoping to put on 'a good show' on NI return

Shane Lowry tees off during his practice round at Galgorm on Wednesday
Shane Lowry tees off during his practice round at Galgorm on Wednesday

Shane Lowry says he hopes to "put on a good show for everyone" at this week's pandemic-affected Irish Open.

This year's delayed tournament will tee off on Thursday at Galgorm Castle Golf Club in Ballymena, County Antrim, with no spectators in attendance.

The field has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic with key names including Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jon Rahm opting not to play.

"It is a very prestigious event and a huge trophy," said Lowry.

"Obviously, it's a little bit different this week. We've probably not got the field that we'd like here, but there's a few Irish lads here and we'll do our best to put on a good show for everyone.

"Hopefully one of us can pick up a home win this week, there are a few amateurs in the field, so you never know."

Irish Open has 'always been huge for me' - Lowry

This week marks Lowry's return to Northern Ireland for the first time since winning the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in July 2019, with the 33-year-old having brought the Claret Jug with him to Galgorm.

And the Offaly native, who memorably clinched the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009, says he hopes to create some more happy memories on his return to NI after finishing tied for 43rd in last week's US Open in New York.

"I was talking to my uncle as I drove into Belfast and I said, 'the last time I was here, I was going home with the Claret Jug,'" added the world number 30.

"So good memories and hopefully I can create some more this week."

Sharvin hoping to adapt to no crowds

Lowry is part of a strong Irish contingent in the field at Galgorm this week, with three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, Northern Irish amateur Tom McKibbin, 2019 British Amateur champion James Sugrue and 2017 British Masters winner Paul Dunne all competing.

Alongside Dunne for the first two rounds will be Cormac Sharvin, who finished as the low Irishman at last year's tournament at Lahinch.

And Sharvin admits he must adapt to a different atmosphere this week with no spectators on the course having fed off the energetic atmosphere in Co. Clare last year.

Cormac Sharvin
Cormac Sharvin is among the home contingent in the Irish Open field

"It's definitely going to be a challenge this week," admitted the 27-year-old Ardglass native.

"Even when I came to Galgorm to play the Northern Ireland Open in the Challenge Tour, there were always good crowds, there were guys from Ardglass coming to follow me, and I fed off that really well.

"The challenge is going to be being up for it from the start and basically feeding off myself.

"That's been a challenge for me for a year or two now, trying to get myself focused from the outset, so hopefully I can do that this week."

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