It's Open season for Irish win, says Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry is backing one of six Irishmen to bring home the Claret Jug as the 145th Open Championship gets under way at Royal Troon today.
Lowry joins Rory McIlroy, Pádraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke, and Paul Dunne in the field.
Four Major champions and three with Open victories on their golfing CV in that group have spurred on Lowry to try and join them in the elite level.
Harrington, 45 next month, set the tone by winning two Opens.
"Rory is one of the favourites, so there's obviously a chance of him winning," Lowry said.
"Graeme's been playing okay. He had a decent week last week but for his back nine on Sunday.
"And Pádraig is Pádraig. If he gets himself in there with a sniff, you never know what can happen.
"I'm obviously playing okay. There is no reason why there can't be an Irish winner on Sunday. We've got a strong challenge here this week. We're obviously used to the conditions that this course is going to throw up. Yeah, there's no reason why not. I just hope it's me."
Lowry also revealed that he has his 'lucky' ball marker on duty for the Open.
"I carry a marker with a shamrock on it that I use that my wife got for me last year. She got me one last year and I lost it, and I didn't hit a shot for about three months.
"So she got me another one and I'm doing okay again," he said with a smile.
Dustin Johnson, the US Open winner, tuned up for this week by playing Portmarnock and The Island in north Co Dublin last weekend.
"I try to come over every year a little bit early. I usually go to Dublin and hang out and play.
"I've played Portmarnock probably six or seven times, and Island I've played twice," said Johnson.
"They're both great courses and I think it's definitely good preparation before I came here."