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Sunday 20 October 2019

Lowry has the confidence I wish I had - McGinley

Shane Lowry 'has the same streaky DNA as golf’s big-time players.' Photo: Matt Slocum/AP
Shane Lowry 'has the same streaky DNA as golf’s big-time players.' Photo: Matt Slocum/AP

Brian Keogh

Paul McGinley believes Shane Lowry's Jekyll and Hyde form could help the Offaly man become a Ryder Cup star.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open host - who spoke about feeling "despondent" when Rory McIlroy ruled out a Lahinch appearance - admits that Lowry has the same streaky DNA as golf's big-time players.

"Shane's got the DNA of the golfer I wish I was," McGinley said of Lowry who has sandwiched four missed cuts between a win and a third-place finish.

"Professional golf is not about being a steady Eddie. And I made a lot of cuts and had a lot of 20ths and a lot of 15ths.

"When I got hot, my confidence level got to eight out of 10. But when Shane gets confident, or Darren Clarke got confident, it's 9.99. They were off the scale with confidence.

"That generally turned itself in to a win or a second-place finish. And that's huge cheques, huge world-ranking points, huge order-of-merit points and huge Ryder Cup points."

With Ian Poulter added to the Irish Open field alongside Lowry, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Pádraig Harrington (with more big names to come), McGinley's fears about the Irish Open field have dissipated.

Unlike his 2015 Ryder Cup captaincy, where he said "the answer to every request was 'yes'," he's had to work hard to build the field for Lahinch.

"This is different," he said.

"I'm on the back foot on a lot of things here. I'm having to bob and weave and work through it, and initially, I was so despondent thinking, 'I've not got a good feeling here, this is frightening'.

"Then the Rory news was broken, I thought, 'Oh my God, how are we going to fix that up?'

"I spoke to Jay Monahan, who runs the PGA Tour, and he said if you had three or four of the big-name guys and those (lower) tiers coming in, 'that's the DNA of a modern golf tournament' unless you're running a World Golf event, a Major championship or The Players."

Lowry and Harrington were among the late starters in the PGA Tour's storm-delayed Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where Seamus Power and David Hearn, and Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson have also teamed up.

At the Trophee Hassan II, Paul Dunne fought back from two-over after three holes to shoot a level-par 73 as Jordan Smith carded a seven-under 66 to lead by one.

Michael Hoey followed an eagle three at his 17th hole with a closing double-bogey five for a 74 and a share of 57th with Gavin Moynihan.

It was also a trying day for the Maguire twins in the Ladies European Tour's Lalla Meryem Cup on the adjacent Blue Course at Royal Dar Es Slam.

Sweden's Lina Boqvist made nine birdies for a seven-under 66 to lead by two strokes, but Leona Maguire was tied 61st after a 76 and Lisa 115th after an 81.

Elsewhere, Hollywood's Tom McKibbin opened with an eight-under 64 to lead the prestigious 54-hole Sage Valley Invitational by two strokes.

  • Trophee Hassan II, Live, Sky Sports, 11.30am
  • Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Live, Sky Sports, 8.30pm

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