| 11°C Dublin

Irish duo open against Champ

Close

Shane Lowry during a press conference at the practice day of the Irish Open. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Shane Lowry during a press conference at the practice day of the Irish Open. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Shane Lowry during a press conference at the practice day of the Irish Open. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

WELSH golfer Jamie Donaldson will tee off tomorrow at Carton House as the defending Irish Open Champion – with Irishmen Pádraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell for company.

The Welshman started last year at Royal Portrush in ideal fashion with a hole in one on the par three sixth, and his week got better and better en route to an impressive closing 66 and a four-shot victory over a trio of quality players.

Since then Donaldson has also added Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship success.

That win saw him jump to 29th in the world ranking, and having earned his place in the world's elite top 50, he returns to Carton House as a different player and a strong contender this week at the Maynooth venue.

"It's great to be back," admitted Donaldson. "It's also great to be back at Carton House as it's a great golf course and it is set up very well.

"It's favouring lower scoring than last time I came here too, so I'm slightly happier about that, as the rough is not as brutal as it was.

"Portrush was a very special week for me. To play in front of 130,000 people on what was a tough and fantastic golf course and to have a hole-in-one at the start of the week was pretty amazing. It was a Cinderella story."

Matured

Donaldson missed the cut the last two times the Irish Open was held on the Montgomerie Course at Carton House, but in the seven years since, the defending champion has matured and is confident of putting up a stern defence.

He said: "My record's not that good the two times I've been here before, but I wasn't as good a golfer as I am now the last time I came here."

The defending champion gets his defence under way alongside Harrington and McDowell from the first at 12.50pm tomorrow in one of the marquee threeballs of the day.


Privacy