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Saturday 10 December 2016

Lowry confident ahead of first shot at living the American dream

Karl MacGinty

Published 12/08/2010 | 05:00

JOHN DALY'S red and white ensemble was so garish, Ray Charles would have winced. Yet Shane Lowry didn't even notice the iconic American golfer as he ambled past.

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Daly and his small entourage were making their way up the steep ascent from the ninth green and pressing on towards the 10th.

Lowry (23) only had eyes, however, for the spectacular Straits Course as it stretched out from beneath his feet to the shore of Lake Michigan, and the adventures which lie ahead for him at the US PGA Championship -- only his second Major and his first on American soil.

The lad from Clara doesn't star-gaze. He's sharing a house in nearby Sheboygan this week with US Open champion Graeme McDowell, Ross Fisher -- the Englishman who recently relieved him of the '3' Irish Open title at Killarney -- and Conor Ridge, their agent at Horizon Sports Management.

The property has its own private lake and a sandy beach at the back door but Lowry spends his limited spare time playing video games on the new PS3 that 'Fish' brought with him to Wisconsin.

The big youngster fits in comfortably with his fellow professionals. In the 15 months since his sensational victory as an amateur at Baltray, Lowry has impressed Tour colleagues by the way in which he combines a powerful work ethic with a wonderfully laid-back nature.

"Shane has a fantastic attitude for the game and that is why he has settled in as well as he has," said McDowell. "He's got a very relaxed demeanour and doesn't put himself under a lot of pressure.

"He's extremely talented and is a good driver of the golf ball, while he has a good short game.

"But Shane's also a pretty sensible kid for a young land," the Pebble Beach hero added. "He's got all the tools."

Lowry was nervous hitting his first tee-shot at last month's British Open "because it was at St Andrews and I didn't know what to expect, though I loved every minute of the Open after that".

potential

He'd finish 37th at St Andrews after an all-or-nothing bid for glory on the final day yielded a closing 75. Yet Lowry relished his first taste of the big-time atmosphere at the Majors.

"Growing up playing golf, this is what you dream about," he said. "Obviously I'd always wanted to be on the European Tour but I thought it might take three or four years to get there. Luckily enough, I then won at Baltray and it all went on from there.

"Before that I'd never played a European Tour event or professional golf. I'd no idea where life was going to take me or my potential.

"Though Baltray told me I could win on a great week, I realised I wasn't really good enough from the moment I first came out on Tour and I questioned myself at times last year when I was missing cuts and not doing so good."

Crediting caddie Dermot Byrne with steering him down the right path in professional golf, Lowry reveals that last November's third- place finish in Japan's Dunlop Phoenix was an important watershed.

"That was huge," he said. "It gave me a great boost of confidence going into 2010."

So Lowry will tread confidently into the PGA fray today. "There's no real point in playing golf unless you really believe you can compete with the world's best," he said. "That's the goal for me. I'm only 23 and have got a long way to go yet."

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