'I'd love to win an Irish Open' - Graeme McDowell tees off in Ballyliffin

'I'd love to win an Irish Open' - Graeme McDowell tees off in Ballyliffin

Three players share the lead early on in the opening round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Jorge Campillo, Matthew Southgate and Ryan Evans are all tied for 1-under par at Ballyliffin.

Graeme McDowell is the first of 14 Irish golfers to tee-off and he is out at 8.20am.

He will be hoping to earn one of the three qualification spots for the Open at Carnoustie.

The Ulster man had to pull out of the qualifiers earlier this week as an airline misplaced his baggage.

McDowell is yet to win the Irish Open and says it something he would love to achieve.

He said: "It is pretty tactical, pretty strategic and the greens are really, really good.

"I feel like I can make a lot of putts on those greens, so it doesn't feel like a regular Irish Open to me, it feels like a real opportunity where I can just put my head down and see where I can compete.

"It goes without saying, I'd love to win an Irish Open, but we have this conversation every year."

Padraig Harrington is the next of the Irish challengers out on the course, he tees off his opening round at 8.30am.

Rory McIlroy says he arrives at the first tee at around 1.20pm the best prepared he has ever been for an Irish Open.

He plays alongside Thorbjorn Olesen and Matt Fitzpatrick this afternoon.

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