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WATC: Lowry drops in as Ireland finish Eisenhower prep work

Shane Lowry joined Ireland for final practice round at the World Amateur Team Championship in Carton House

  • 04 September 2018

Picture: Flying the flag for Ireland - Shane Lowry with the Ireland team | Cashman Photography

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Ireland completed preparations for the Eisenhower Trophy in the presence of Shane Lowry.

The current world number 83 and three-time European Tour winner joined the home team for their final practice round at Carton House on Tuesday. Lowry spent the morning watching Robin Dawson, John Murphy and Conor Purcell plot their way around the O'Meara Course, dispensing advice where required.

"I'm not sure I'm going to tell them anything too special that's going to help them this week," said Lowry. "They've got a great opportunity. They're playing a home Eisenhower. Who knows the next person that will get to experience that. They should go out and enjoy themselves this week and give it a good run."

Lowry turned professional in 2009 following his breakout win at the Irish Open. The year before he was number five in the world amateur rankings when selected by the Golfing Union of Ireland for the World Amateur Team Championship in Australia.

"It was the last team event I played for Ireland and we had a great time down in Adelaide," Lowry recalled. "It was a wonderful experience."

Much has changed for Lowry in the intervening period although his coach, Neil Manchip, has been ever present. Their relationship developed during Lowry's amateur days when Manchip was GUI National Coach, a position he still holds. And it was at lunch with his long-time mentor last week that Lowry floated the idea of a get-together with the Ireland team at Carton.

"I said: 'Look, I'm at nothing next week if you want me to come down and have a walk around with them,'" Lowry explained.

In 2013 Lowry was a resident in Carton when the Co Kildare resort hosted the Irish Open and that experience provided an obvious parallel.

"The one thing I used going into the Irish Open that week was that I was very fortunate to be able to play a tournament like the Irish Open on my home course," said Lowry. "I think that's the way they should be looking at it. There's obviously people going to be saying there's added pressure but in a way I think it's more of a benefit than added pressure playing a home tournament on your home course, and for these lads here this week in their home country. I think they should try and flip it around and use it as a positive."

Among the team that positive feeling is apparent. Kinsale's John Murphy, at 20 the youngest member of Ireland's three-man team, has no qualms about stating bold ambitions for the week.

John Murphy (Ireland).jpg
Picture: John Murphy doing push ups as a forfeit during practice

"The goal is to be standing up on that podium with the gold medal so we'll see if we can get that done," said Murphy, who was in confident mood following Tuesday's practice round.

"He was great to be around," he said when asked about the value of having Lowry present.

"We were just asking him a lot of questions, getting an insight into what it's like out there in the big world. He was just giving us advice and hints."

Although Murphy had to concede bragging rights when Robin Dawson birdied the final hole of their practice round to beat him by one shot -- 'I won't hear the end of that one for a while' -- the mood is upbeat

"It's a week that we will all remember for the rest of our lives," said Murphy, who has seen a remarkable transformation in his fortunes this season. Last January he was recuperating after surgery on his knee to mend a long-term problem.

"I remember the day before I flew back to America," Murphy said, describing the scene before his return to the University of Louisville. "It was 5th or 6th January and I wasn't really back playing golf. I was on the Irish men's panel. There was 15 or 16 of us on the panel at that meeting. The topic of conversation was the Eisenhower Trophy and how it's hosted in Ireland and what we were going to do to get ready for this. I was thinking: 'What's the point in me being at this meeting?' As it turned out, there was plenty of point in me being there."

Ireland begin their Eisenhower campaign on the Montgomerie Course (11th tee) playing alongside defending champions Australia and the United States of America from 7.56am.