Tournament favourite Shane Lowry will kick-start the home challenge at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open as the first Irishman off the tee in the opening round at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort on Thursday.
The Open champion, making his first competitive appearance on these shores since his last visit to Co Antrim, when he lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush 14 months ago, will tee off at 9.25am as he bids to emulate his victory in his national open as an amateur at Baltray in 2009.
Lowry, still looking for his best form, played all four rounds at last weekend’s testing US Open at Winged Foot in New York and though he finished 15 over par, 21 shots behind winner Bryson DeChambeau.
The Clara star said after the tournament that he was happy with his game having played his final 15 holes in one under par.
He will play his first two rounds with Australia’s Lucas Herbert and South African George Coetzee as he leads an 11-strong home contingent with 2007 Irish Open champion Padraig Harrington teeing off at 1pm on Thursday in the draw announced by the European Tour on Tuesday afternoon.
Paul Dunne and Cormac Sharvin have been paired together alongside Scotland’s Marc Warren at 12.40 while 2019 Amateur champion James Sugrue gets his Irish Open underway in the group behind Lowry at 9.35am.
Corkman Sugrue, who made his US Open debut last week and has a Masters appearance to look forward to in November, is one of three Irish amateurs in the field with Holywood’s Tom McKibbin out at 12.30pm and Kilkenny’s Mark Power off late in the penultimate threeball at 2.25pm.
, George Coetzee (SA), Lucas Herbert (Aus)
Laurie Canter (Eng), , Soren Kjeldsen (Den)
Matthew Baldwin (Eng), , Steven Tilly (Eng)
Maverick Antcliff (Aus), , Lee Slattery (Eng)
Aaron Cockerill (Can), Garrick Porteous (Eng),
Ben Stow (Eng), Sean Crocker (USA),
, Sebastian Soderburg (Swe), Scott Hend (Aus)
, , Marc Warren (Sco)
, John Catlin (USA), Justin Harding (SA)
Daniel Young (Sco), , Alejandro Canizares (Esp)