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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Shane Lowry explains why he thrives on tough golf courses

Lowry tees up at St Andrews this week in search of his first Major.

Lowry shot 71 on Sunday and finished in a tie for 31st.
Lowry shot 71 on Sunday and finished in a tie for 31st.
Image: Kenny Smith

SHANE LOWRY FEELS he has the mental game to take on golf’s toughest courses.

Lowry heads for The Open at St Andrews on the back of some promising preparation at the Scottish Open.

He opened with back-to-back 66s in Gullane but faded over the weekend and finished down the leaderboard, seven shots behind winner Rickie Fowler.

Lowry is no stranger to links golf but it was his US Open challenge at the notoriously tricky Chambers Bay that really marked him out as one to watch.

“When it comes to tough golf courses, I tend to thrive on tough conditions and tough golf courses because I get myself into a frame of mind where if you make a bogey, it’s not the end of the world,” he explained.

“You just need to steady the ship after that, try to keep double-bogeys off your scorecard, and go from there. That’s the one thing.

That’s why I play tough golf courses well. I’ve always played Valderrama well, I’ve always played Wentworth well, I’ve always played the tough courses well.

“Maybe on a week when 20-under is winning, I get myself in a frame of mind where making a bogey is like the end of the world. That’s something I might need to look at but that (US Open) week it seemed to work for me.”

Lowry does not work with a sports psychologist, instead relying on coach Neil Manchip for advice and guidance, and his reasons are as straightforward as can be.

“I don’t think I need one. People have this thing that they think a lot of players work with psychologists. They don’t.

“A handful do, a few players do, not a lot. I don’t know many people that actually do. It’s something that I don’t think I need.”

He returns this week to the famous Old Course, the venue for his first Open in 2010 where he finished in a respectable tie for 37th.

Lowry also experienced St Andrews as an amateur and remembers shooting 81 on his first outing as a teenager.

“I didn’t know where I was going at all. To be honest, it was 40 mph winds that day. I didn’t know what to make of it.

“The next time would have been the Dunhill in 2009 and I loved it.

“There’s a strange feeling as a golfer walking up the 18th, whether it be at the Dunhill Links or at the Open. It’s weird.

Walking down the first, walking up the 18th, it’s just a weird feeling you get.

“It is the home of golf. It sounds cliched and all that, butterflies in your tummy sort of thing. It’s just something special walking up that hole.”

“It does take a while to get to know it,” he added.

If St Andrews was in the middle of Donegal or something, would it be as good? I don’t think so. The fact of where it is, the home of golf, it’s special that way.

“You do get to like it more the more you play it. I’ve played it a lot now. It’s one of those courses that grows on you over the years.”

Originally published at 14.35

Fowler and Spieth primed for St Andrews after dramatic wins on either side of Atlantic

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Niall Kelly

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