By Sam Tremlett
We take a look at some Irish players competing for victory at The Open Championship.
Irish Contenders At The Open Championship
For only the second time in the long and illustrious history of The Open Championship, the event returns to the shores of Royal Portrush and Ireland in 2019. This means the players who call that small island home will be cheered on by roughly 150,000 Irish fans which is sure to give them a huge advantage over the rest of the field.
However this also creates intense pressure and expectation to contend which could be difficult to play under especially if your name is Rory. Regardless an Irish winner would be incredibly popular so in this piece we have taken a look at some Irish contenders.
This took little thought when you consider Rory shot 61 around Portrush when he was just 16 years old. He also happens to be in fantastic form at the moment winning twice this year at The Players and RBC Canadian Open.
Having won earlier this year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Lowry is currently in the form of his life with three top-10s in his last five events. (T3 at RBC Heritage, T8 PGA Championship, T2 RBC Canadian Open).
He clearly enjoys playing in Ireland too regularly featuring at the business end of the Irish Open. In fact his first win on the European Tour came at the Irish Open back in 2009, when he was just an amateur.
Nobody in the field knows the course and town as well as McDowell, possibly aside from Darren Clarke who also happens to call Portrush his hometown. It took him a long time to qualify for The Open but he did so thanks to a long putt at the RBC Canadian Open which secured him a top-10 spot. Speaking after he said;
"I think I had reasonable belief in myself that I was going to be able to take care of it one of these weeks. Obviously as the pressure started to build, it was going to be more difficult as it went along,” he admitted. “Obviously very proud to have got one of the Open Championship spots and get that little monkey off my back and let me go and play some golf the next few weeks.”
Considering his experience of playing Portrush, he says he has played it between 300 and 500 times, McDowell could most definitely use that to his advantage come tournament time.
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As a player who has dropped to outside the worlds top 300 golfers, calling Harrington a contender might be a stretch but who knows what could happen at the Dunluce links? Nobody saw Tom Watson's near heroics coming in 2009 and Harrington can clearly still compete. Earlier this year he came 2nd at the Real D+D Czech Masters and a week later had a top-5 at the KLM Open.
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