Gary McDermott, Simon Ward, Shane Lowry and Mike Miller during practice for the Irish Amateur Open
10 May 2012
Lowry the Surprise at Irish Amateur Open
It came as somewhat of a surprise on Thursday morning when Ryder Cup hopeful Shane Lowry stepped up on to the first tee at Royal Dublin during practice for the Irish Amateur Open which gets underway on Friday at the Clontarf venue.
Lowry, who is lying 81st in the Race to Dubai, didn’t appear too keen to take to the course, on a bitterly cold and wet day following his recent appearances in Spain and China, but he was there to play with Gary McDermott and Simon Ward, both good friends of his from their days on the Irish amateur golf scene.
“I don’t know what I’m doing here” he joked as he sheltered under the canopy of the pro-shop at Royal Dublin. “Gary asked me to play a few holes, and I wasn’t doing anything else so I said I’d go out”.
Next up for Lowry is the PGA Championship at Wentworth in two weeks but a full week of practice lies ahead at the GUI National Golf Academy from Tuesday as his prepares for one of the tour’s flagship events. “I struggled a little bit last week and a few weeks beforehand, but it feels alright. It’s coming along nicely”.
Attention however was more on the man making up the four ball, Mike Miller from the United States of America.
Miller, who had never played links golf in Ireland up until last week, has already clocked up rounds at The Island and Portmarnock and his good form showed at the Lytham Trophy last week where the American finished fourth, albeit some 13 shots behind the winner Daan Huizing (Netherlands) who is also here this week at Royal Dublin.
Despite suffering some bad luck off the golf course (managing to break two iPhones, and being sick after flying from Blackpool to Dublin on a twin-prop in a storm), Miller is looking forward to the challenge this week.
“I played here on Wednesday and found the front nine really tough, it was all into the wind. But I enjoyed the back nine a lot more playing with the wind behind.”
With tough competition from local favourites Alan Dunbar (Rathmore) and Dermot McElroy (Ballymena), the presence of Manuel Trappel (Austria) the current European Amateur Champion in the field, and the Lytham winner Huizing who narrowly missed out on winning the title in 2011 by finishing Bogey / Triple Bogey when Bogey / Bogey would have gave him victory, the winner on Sunday evening will have earned the title.
Welshman Rhys Pugh, who captured the title in 2011, is not in the field and is currently on a golfing scholarship at East Tennessee.
Play gets underway on Friday morning at 7.30am.
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