Three missed cuts in his last three Open Championship appearances have not rendered Shane Lowry a bad player of links golf and the Irishman is relishing the opportunity to redress the balance at Carnoustie this week.
From a career-best Open finish of a tie for ninth place in 2014 at Hoylake, the 31-year-old has experienced only
misery in golf’s oldest major, making early exits at St Andrews, Troon, and Birkdale.
There is a hard-luck tale behind each of them but Carnoustie has put a spring back in Lowry’s step as he attempts to properly turn his season around after failing to fire during his first six months full-time on the PGA Tour this year.
“I played the Irish Open a few weeks ago and felt like I played decent in a lot of parts.
“So hopefully I can go out in Carnoustie, which is a course I like and a course I’ve shot good scores on, and hopefully come out and do the business this week.”
Carnoustie, widely regarded as the toughest of all Open venues, actually breeds confidence in the Offaly man where it instills fear in others.
“I just need to play the golf course whatever way I see it and not listen to the way people are talking,” Lowry said. “You can get caught up with people saying they will hit driver everywhere because the rough is not thick. But I just want to play the way I want to play and the way I see it because I have shot some great scores around here.
Obviously the way I play the course is a decent way to play it and that’s what I’m going to do this week.
Carnoustie is very much a course that demands good strategic thinking and will not be overpowered by big hitters off the tee, something Lowry respects and hopes those bombers do not.
“I think people are going to have a misconception of how this golf course is going to play. I think it is going to play a lot harder than people are seeing in practice. I think the greens are going to dry out and the golf course is like a runway out there. If you get the ball off line, you are going to get yourself in trouble.
“So I think the guys who want to hit drivers everywhere, let them off and if I’m wrong I’ll obviously eat my words at the end of the week. But I don’t think it’s driver everywhere. I think you need to get the ball in play, get the ball on the short grass and have control with your iron shots then.
“You have to start to think what clubs you are going to use off tees and what clubs to put in play, whether it be a three wood, a 2-iron, a 3-iron, anything like that. That’s something I’ll look at over the next couple of days to see how I set up my bag.
This could be the place Lowry’s game and season sparks into life and he has arrived full of optimism after discussions with coach Neil Manchip and caddie Dermot Byrne.
He told RTÉ Radio: “I’ve been saying for a few weeks or a couple of months that I don’t think I am far away. Sometimes you can feel like you are miles away but I really don’t. We had a good chat today — myself, Neil, and Dermot on the way up in the car — and from the research that Dermot has done over the last week, he wouldn’t be one to bluff me and he thinks we could be very close to something.
“I am just out here trying to do my best. I am going
to do my best over the next few days to get to know the golf course as well as I can in the conditions and give it a go on Thursday.”