Tuesday 25 June 2019

Lahinch-bound Seamus Power sets sights on Irish Open glory after securing sponsor's invite

Seamus Power. Picture Getty Images
Seamus Power. Picture Getty Images

Brian Keogh

West Waterford's Seamus Power is heading to Lahinch and gunning for Dubai Duty Free Irish Open glory and a dream Munster homecoming.

While Team Ireland's Cormac Sharvin and Gavin Moynihan have received invites from Sport Ireland, Power (32) has been handed a sponsor's invitation by Dubai Duty Free following his stellar run of recent form on the PGA Tour.

He's not coming back just to enjoy the party atmosphere in Co Clare and backed by Paul McGinley, who will host the $7 million Rolex Series event from July 4-7, he's hoping he can make it a three-week trip home to remember and also set his sights on qualifying for The Open at Royal Portrush two weeks later.

"I haven't played the Irish Open since 2013, so I'm absolutely over the moon," said the Tooraneena man, who played as an amateur in 2005 before returning as a mini-tour professional six years ago.

"I'm going to have a few more people following me, and I haven't got to play much golf in front of friends and family, so they're all excited about it too. I'm just really looking forward to it. It's going to make my summer."

An Olympian in Rio three years ago, Power is ranked 108th in the FedExCup standings after recent back to back top-six finishes in the RBC Heritage and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and a tie for 13th in the Wells Fargo Championship.

He's still got work to do to keep his PGA Tour card, but he'll be relaxed in Lahinch, where he lost to McGinley's younger brother Michael in his last appearance in the South of Ireland Championship in 2013.

"Paul was saying, 'I am not sure I can give you a spot if my brother can knock you out!'" joked Power, who will join the likes of Padraig Harrington, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen at Lahinch. "But I am glad it worked out.

"Lahinch is a great town, and I know a lot of people up there, and I know a lot of people are going to come up and watch. It's just going to be a fantastic week.

"Lahinch is fantastic, an absolutely great course. I always liked it, and I always felt I played okay there, even though I didn't have much luck in the South."

If he doesn't win one before then, he'll also be gunning for one of three places in The Open on offer for a top 10 finish at Lahinch and the chance for a spectacular summer run at home.

"Last month I had a very good month, and hopefully I can keep it up before coming home to Ireland and if I am in good form, getting myself into contention in Lahinch," said Power, who joins Graeme McDowell in this week's Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial before playing US Open Sectional Qualifying.

"Ideally speaking you'd love to a spot in The Open before coming home for the Irish Open," said Power, who will be chasing one of three qualifying spots at the RBC Canadian Open from June 6-9. "That's in the back of my mind for now. I'm going to see can I rack up some points and just be ready for the summer.

"But if I had the opportunity to play two tournaments in Ireland in three weeks, that's something I might never get a chance to do again, almost.

"It would be really special —an added cherry on top of the Irish Open —so I've got five or six weeks to really get my game right and give it a good run.

Power became the first Irishman to win on the Web.com Tour in 2016, and he was inspired to see close pal Harold Varner III play with Brooks Koepka in the final group at the US PGA at Bethpage Black on Sunday.

"I am good friends with Harold, and while Sunday didn't go his way it was his first taste of being in contention in a major, being in the last group and I am sure he will learn a lot," said Power.

"I have played a lot of golf with Harold, and it makes you believe a little bit more that you can get there yourself. It's something to look forward to."

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