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Lowry back to his best


Shane Lowry. Picture: Warren Little/GETTY IMAGES

Shane Lowry. Picture: Warren Little/GETTY IMAGES

Getty Images

Shane Lowry. Picture: Warren Little/GETTY IMAGES

SHANE LOWRY believes he has rediscovered the mindset which allows him to play at his best after an impressive couple of weeks.

In his first eight starts on the European Tour this year, the 27-year-old’s best finish was joint 39th in February’s Tshwane Open in South Africa. However, he rediscovered his form with a place in the top 15 at the Spanish Open, pushed Rory McIlroy a close second in the flagship BMW PGA Championship on Sunday and, 24 hours later, topped 36-hole US Open qualifying at Walton Heath.

There is a danger Lowry could pay for the week he has had, with six strokeplay rounds in five days, at the Nordea Masters in Malmo but he believes his confidence will help him through.

“I am in a decent frame of mind as I’ve been playing quite well over the last few weeks,” he said. “I was struggling a lot and managed to find something at the Spanish Open and brought it into Wentworth and I really enjoyed it there and played well at Walton Heath on Monday.

“I feel I am mentally back to where I am when I am playing my best. I am switched on and nothing seems to faze me when I’m like this. With my finish last week and qualifying Monday I’ve definitely got two of the next three majors and hopefully the Open as well, in addition to the Irish Open.

“But tomorrow is a new tournament. I know I have done well last week and Monday but everyone is standing on the first tee tomorrow with the shame chance of winning.”

One of the players thinking exactly that will be world number two Henrik Stenson, playing in his home event for the first time since 2011.

With two top-10 finishes in his last two outings - coming joint-seventh at Wentworth - the Ryder Cup player is hoping to find further inspiration at the PGA Sweden National.

“I’ve not played in this tournament for a few years so I’m seeing a lot of people who I haven’t seen for a while,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of people coming to watch - unless it stays cold. When you start moaning about the rain in England I suppose I deserve to get it back here. I never felt it this cold at the start of the summer - it can’t get any colder otherwise it will snow!

“It would be great to win this week. I came very close in 2005 when I lost in a play-off when Mark Hensby drained a 30ft putt on the last to force a play-off and won on the second play-off hole.

“At that point it was very hard to take and it took a week or two for me to get over that.

“It would be nice to get revenge after being so close.”