Less attention upon arrival propelled Shane Lowry in first round at Royal Portrush

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Less attention upon arrival propelled Shane Lowry in first round at Royal Portrush

2019 British Open

Less attention upon arrival propelled Shane Lowry in first round at Royal Portrush

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PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Shane Lowry’s not used to playing an Irish golf tournament without much attention, but that’s how things were ahead of the 148th British Open. He’s got lots of attention now after returning a 4-under-par 67 to lead the tournament.

Not bad for a guy who stood on the first tee at 7:52 a.m. along with Phil Mickelson and Branden Grace feeling low in confidence.

Lowry arrived in Portrush with a decent season behind him that includes victory in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, T-2 in the Canadian Open, third in the RCB Heritage and T-8 in the PGA Championship. Yet he stood on the first tee wondering what the day would bring.

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“I felt very unconfident on the first tee, I’m not going to lie,” he said.

“I don’t feel like practice went unbelievably well this week. I felt a little bit uncomfortable. It’s the British Open, it’s in Ireland. I’m playing well, I feel like I should come up and do well. Why shouldn’t I feel uneasy?”

The 32-year-old from County Offaly in the Irish Republic decided a clear the air session was needed with coach Neil Manchip.

“Went to coffee yesterday down at the Bushmills Inn and we found a little quiet room, we had a great chat for about 40 minutes. I left that room full of confidence and ready to go. So we just put everything out in the open, everything out on the table, what could happen, what might happen.”

Lowry’s under par day was helped by arriving in Portrush with less attention on him than he usually gets in the Emerald Isle.

“I feel like for me I can come here a little more under the radar than the other guys. G-Mac (Graeme McDowell) is from here, he grew up here. Rory (McIlroy) is an hour down the road and obviously had some great times here. And Darren (Clarke) lives here now. I feel like for me I can kind of be more under the radar than everyone else. But obviously not now.”

The four-time European Tour winner has already won an Open in Ireland. He lifted the Irish Open trophy in 2009 when he was still an amateur. He’s put himself in pole position to win another one, a victory that’ll ensure he never flies under the radar again.

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