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July 27, 2010

Shane Lowry


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thank you very much for joining us. I think the last time you were in a 3 Irish Open press conference, I suppose we should go back to what happened at Baltray, if you can just go back and talk about that first.
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, what happened last year at Baltray, you know, it was life-changing for me. What a week. I suppose I have to thank the GUI, Golfing Union Ireland, for giving me the opportunity, and 3, also for giving me the invite for playing in it, without that I wouldn't be sitting here today as defending champion. And what a week it turned out to be in Baltray. It's something I'll never forget for the rest of my life, and you know, it will always be remembered back home.
Hopefully I can go on and push on from there and hopefully get a few more wins and see how far I can go in this game.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Looking ahead to this week, have you got the same crowd coming down?
SHANE LOWRY: I don't know, there might be -- depends on how we are going Saturday and Sunday but there's definitely a few coming down. They are here already and I'm sure it will be a few more on Thursday on the first tee.
So, yeah, I'm really looking forward to getting out there this week, and a bit of home support never hurt anyone. So it's going to be great, yeah.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Have you been out on the golf course?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, I played here. I came down yesterday and I made earlier this morning. The course is in good shape. There's not much rough out there so there's going to be -- depending on the weather, obviously, should be a few birdies and the scoring could be quite low, but, you know, we'll have to see because not many of the players know the course. It hasn't been here since '92, so I don't think there's many players here that played in '92, is there?

Q. Darren did.
SHANE LOWRY: So he's the only one who knows the course.
Yeah, it's always different when players come back and don't really know the courses. You never know what the scoring is going to be like, so we'll just have to see.

Q. The more experienced Irish professionals, including Pádraig until 2007, always said that there was more pressure with the Irish Open than there was in any other tournament because of the many distractions that took place during the week. Are you finding that to be the case?
SHANE LOWRY: This is my first day here. I don't really know. Like obviously there's a lot more to do. I have to do a lot more today than I do in any other tournament.
Like I say, I got my practise round in and I will still get my practise in this evening. I'm just trying to treat it like any other week obviously but with the crowds and stuff, it will be a little bit more, I don't know if I would say pressure, but yeah, there will be a little bit -- there will be more pressure, more so from myself than anyone else.
You know, I suppose when Pádraig says that, he probably means more pressure on yourself to do well in your home tournament.

Q. Can you cast your mind back to not Sunday of last year but maybe Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of last year, what you expected going to that first tee, what you had actually going on in your mind at that stage? Had you at any point in your wildest dreams imagined --
SHANE LOWRY: I played a practise round with Peter Lawrie this morning. We played with Paul Cutler and Cian Curley, and we were walking down 16 and he goes, "You know, these two lads here, this is you this time last year. You know," and he said, "it must give them great hope for what they can do in the game."
He asked me, he said, "Did you have any expectations?"
I said no. I said, "All along what I wanted to do was make the cut and get four rounds." I got off to a bad start last year I remember and was 2-over through four and shot 5-under and then obviously 62 on Friday and I was leading the tournament. But until Friday evening, I never had any expectations.
The shoeing that 62, I didn't even know it happened until I came in and signed my card. It just went so quick and just happened. You know, I can't hardly even remember doing it, every shot just happened.

Q. You have an advantage, you knew Baltray so well, is it going to be harder for the guys who come here for the first time trying to achieve what you achieved last year?
SHANE LOWRY: I don't know. If you play good enough golf, I think especially this week, if you're playing good enough golf this week, you'll do well this week. There's a lot of chances out there, so if you do, if you are on your game, you could finish right up there.

Q. I'm talking about the amateur lads. You were sort of comfortable, familiar?
SHANE LOWRY: I different for them because I knew Baltray so well. But the lads coming down here, with the ropes and the Tour vans and the crowds and the grandstands, it is different for them. I said this morning, the two of them are playing well and go ahead and give it a rip and if you don't make the cut, you don't make the cut. Just go out and see what happens.

Q. Are you happy with the progress you've made since Baltray? You're in the Top-100 in the world; you're comfortably in the top hundred in the world and Top-50 in Europe; are you happy with that progress and do you see a win just around the corner so to speak?
SHANE LOWRY: I would like to think so. I think maybe after balance try, it all took a while to sink in. One week, I was just your normal amateur golfer playing the amateur tournaments, and the next week, I was teeing it at The London Club as a European Tour player. I was only 22 and was young, do you know what I mean; I was young and immature I suppose. I didn't know what to expect. I knew I wanted to be a professional golfer but I didn't expect it to happen so quick.
But to answer your question, I'm pleased with the way things have gone over the last -- especially over the last few week, because I've worked really hard on my game over the last sort of 12 months, and you know, it's hard when you're not getting the rewards.
It's hard when -- that Friday evening in France, I had been playing so well and so well and get up near the top of the leaderboard and 5-over for my last five, missed the cut by one; I said to myself, I'm not letting that happen again. I went out the next week at Loch Lomond, Top-10, then went out in The Open and did okay. You know, a lot of people, obviously it's my first major, but I wasn't too pleased with the way I finished.
Obviously it was a good week because I got to contend in a major so to speak or near the top of the leaderboard. But overall, I moved over a hundred spots in the world. I've made over a half million Euros.

Q. How well do you know Killeen? And have you played it since the revamp?
SHANE LOWRY: I've never -- actually I apologise to Karl. I told him a lie last week. I told him I had played here before that. (Laughter).
I've only played here twice. Played here last Friday and played here this morning. I'll play the Pro-Am tomorrow, and I don't really know it that well. You know, it's like any other week. It's a golf course, and it's me and the golf course and try and get around in as less shots as I can and that's all I'm trying to do this week.

Q. Where did you make the biggest improvement in your game?
SHANE LOWRY: I think my iron play has let me down in the last while, especially under pressure. But I am going the right direction. Driving the ball very well at the minute. My short game is -- my short game is good, and I'm very confident with that, and that's what I was priding myself on getting up-and-down and being able to go for pins and stuff like that. I pretty much just go for everything. And if doesn't come off, I try to get up-and-down; and if I don't, I go on to the next hole and try to make birdie there.
I think if I can improve my iron play by just a small margin over the next while, I think there's a really good finish somewhere in me.

Q. Some people say that you guys are going to tear this golf course apart and that even 60 could be broken; what do you make of that kind of talk?
SHANE LOWRY: That's a big, tall person, do I see myself shooting 59, I don't think so. I don't think there's anything like that out there. Maybe there might be a 62 or 63 if someone plays unbelievable. But that's the same as it is every week. These players are so good; if they get on their game, they can make nine or ten birdies in a round.
The scoring will be quite low. I would expect the scoring to be up around 20-under par this week. That's golf and I think the crowds will love that. This weekend, bank holiday weekend here in Killarney, they will make quite a few anyway.

Q. Some people made a killing with the bookies last year; you're 33 to 1, what would you wage those odds this week?
SHANE LOWRY: Obviously Paddy Power is not going to have me at 3000 to 1 this year. I feel quite confident going into the week. I certainly wouldn't be telling anyone not to back me -- or I don't tell anyone to back me or not to back me. Just say I'll make all right, whatever you want to do yourself. But I am confident in my game at the minute, and doing a lot of work with Neal, met him Sunday and done a bit yesterday and do a bit this evening.
As I said, if I can get my iron play, just improve it a percentage, a small margin, if I can improve it by one shot a round, two shots a round, you never know what might happen on Sunday.

Q. Do you feel any different coming in this week as defending champion as you would any other tournament?
SHANE LOWRY: Yeah, obviously it's a little bit different with, you know, the attention that's on me this week, because I'm just -- when I'm at another tournament, no one even takes any notice of you. But this week is a little bit different, because obviously I am defending and it's my home tournament, the Irish Open.
You know, I'm trying not to feel like that, you know, and keep myself away from the town and try to treat it as a normal week. I have a lot of friends this week and we'll just chill out this week and as soon as I get on the first tee on Thursday, as I said, it's just me and the golf course.

Q. How do you deal with that expectation that's on your shoulders now? Are you doing anything different this week than you would have done?
SHANE LOWRY: I know there's expectation, but I just -- to be honest, I don't even think about it. To me the biggest expectation is from myself; it always has been and probably always will be.
So I expect so much of myself, the biggest disappointment is to myself if I don't do well. But I'm going to prepare as -- I'm going to do my best to prepare as well as I can, and as I said last week, and this week, it could end up in a missed the cut, it could ends up in a win. We'll just have to see what happens.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thanks for joining us. Good luck with the defence.

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