Graeme McDowell: “Shane Lowry is one of the most competitive people I have ever met”

Graeme McDowell backs Shane Lowry in The Open

Graeme McDowell has backed his friend and fellow Irishman Shane Lowry to win The Open on Sunday. Lowry co-leads with American J.B. Holmes at the halfway point at Royal Portrush.

“Shane Lowry is one of the most competitive people I have ever met in my life,” said McDowell after his second round today, which saw him make the cut on the number at one over par.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are playing credit card roulette for dinner or playing cards or whatever. Certainly playing nine holes on a Tuesday, Shane is the guy trying to beat you.

“His competitive spirit is unbelievable but he can also drive incredibly well and he is one of the best chippers I have ever seen. He obviously has his eye in with the putter and when he is under the gun he knows what to do and he is not scared.

“I certainly would not put it past him to put his name on that trophy and I would be very proud of him.”

Lowry, 32 and seven years younger than McDowell, has shot rounds of 66 and 68 so far, having missed the cut in The Open for the past four years.

“I really hope Shane can keep it going,” added McDowell, “but I would love to get close to him over the weekend.”

After a triple-bogey at the last hole yesterday wrecked McDowell’s strong start to The Open in his hometown, he rebounded today with a steady one-under-par 70 to secure golfing rights for the weekend.

“Any time you are trying to make a cut on a Friday afternoon you are a little tight but this one obviously means a lot for me to play the weekend,” he said.

“Anything can happen from here. There is a tough forecast for Sunday and a great forecast for tomorrow so if I can go out early and shoot a low one in the morning, you never know.

“It has been an amazing atmosphere out there and part of what I wanted to do today was have a great attitude for the crowd.

“I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. I am in a very privileged position and I need to hold my head up high and show these people that I am proud to be here.

“I can go in tomorrow and free up a little bit. I will have nothing to lose and I am very capable of shooting in the mid-sixties.”