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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Lowry: I learned from my US Open failure

Shane's focus is on talking positive and moving on

Shane Lowry at yesterday’s press conference. Picture Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Shane Lowry at yesterday’s press conference. Picture Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Shane Lowry is convinced he can challenge for the Open title after overcoming his US Open heartache.

The Offalyman surrendered a four-shot lead going into the final round at Oakmont last month to finish in a tie for second, three behind winner Dustin Johnson.

Lowry admitted the near miss did affect him for a few days, but he is determined to take the positives from challenging in a major as he prepares for this week's championship at Troon.

The world number 27 said: "The first few days - the Monday, Tuesday afterwards - was not easy. I was obviously quite disappointed and I'm not going to lie, there were a few moments where there might have been a tear shed or two. I suppose I was beating myself up for a few days after it.

"That's just the way it is. That's the game we play. I know I'll be back there, I know I'll give myself a chance again. It's just up to me to kind of learn from the mistakes of that Sunday afternoon and bring that into the next one.

Leading

"For three-and-a-half rounds I was up there and leading in one of the biggest tournaments in the world.

"So it can give you a bit of confidence going forward into this week.

"If you look at it, after the US Open, I was a lot further along in my career than I was the week before, so there are a lot of positives to take from it. I'm well and truly over it."

Lowry hopes he can find his touch on the greens in Scotland this week to put him firmly in contention to win the Claret Jug.

The 29-year-old said: "If I hole a few putts this week, I do think I can stand there on Sunday - hopefully on the 18th green lifting the trophy."

Lowry will play the first two rounds at Troon alongside Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose in a high-profile grouping, that teed off at 9.03am today.

This is something he is relishing, although he did dig himself into a hole trying to explain that at a press conference.

He said: "I have a really good group, and I'm looking forward to that. I can't wait. That's where I want to be, playing with the best players in the world.

"I've been in plenty of sh*** groups over the years... with all due respect to the golfers! I don't mean the players I was playing with, I meant the times more so!"

Dustin Johnson already thinks of himself as the best player in the world and could make it official by winning a second major title in the space of a month at the Open Championship.

After several near-misses, Johnson finally claimed an overdue major title in the US Open last month, despite controversially being penalised a shot during the final round at Oakmont. The 32-year-old then returned to action a fortnight later and won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational to become only the second player after Tiger Woods to have won three different World Golf Championships events.

And another victory at Troon would take Johnson to the top of the world rankings for the first time in his career, as long as current number one Jason Day finishes outside the top 10.

"It's definitely something I'd like to get to," said Johnson. . "I've still got a little way to go. Jason's in front of me pretty well, so just got to keep putting myself in position to win golf tournaments and keep getting it done.

"I like my chances, but I go into every tournament liking my chances. I always feel like I'm the best player in the world, but that's just me. I've got a lot of confidence in my game. Obviously I'm playing very well right now.

"I always expect to come out and perform and to contend. But it's definitely a little bit different coming out and not trying to win that first major. That's the biggest difference. It's a good feeling, for sure. On Sunday if I'm in contention, just knowing that I can get it done is a big confidence booster coming down the stretch. If I have my best stuff, I believe (I am going to win)."

American players have won the last six Open Championships staged at Troon and despite the emphasis placed on his length off the tee, Johnson has always embraced the challenge of links golf.

"The first time I came over was in college," added Johnson, who led after 36 holes at St Andrews last year before fading . "We played a tournament at St Andrews Bay and played a couple of other courses and then I came back a couple years later (2007) and played the Walker Cup at Royal County Down.

"Ever since the first time I came over I just liked it. I thought it was something different than we play on week-in or week-out in the US, or even around the world. You've got to use a lot of your imagination. You've got to hit all kinds of different shots throughout the day."

I suppose I was beating myself up for a few days after it. I know I'll be back there, I know I'll give myself a chance again.

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