Shane Lowry is hoping to put a disappointing PGA Tour season behind him as he begins the new campaign by making his debut at the Safeway Open.
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The Open champion finished 123rd in last season’s FedExCup standings and was eliminated from the play-offs with a missed cut at The Northern Trust, having only registered one top-20 finish on the PGA Tour during a shortened campaign.
Lowry elected against returning to Ireland during his short off-season due to the coronavirus-related travel restrictions, with the 33-year-old now looking for a strong performance in California ahead of next week’s US Open at Winged Foot.
“Obviously I wouldn’t be overly pleased with how I did last season, but it was a strange one,” Lowry told a pre-tournament press conference.
“I felt like I played OK in part and I felt like I had it going before lockdown and I struggled when we came back out. I rallied a little bit to make it to the play-offs and it was disappointing to play the way I did in Boston, but that’s just the way it is.
“I’ve had a couple of weeks off and the reason I’m here this week is I don’t really want three weeks off going into the US Open. I’m close, I’m in America. My family are in Ireland, so I couldn’t go back to Ireland because of the quarantine, there was no point.
“This is a big event in its own right, so I want to come here and play well. Obviously I’m thinking about trying to get a bit of form going into Winged Foot next week, but at the end of the day I’m a proud golfer and I want to play well this week.”
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Lowry will play alongside Phil Mickelson and Brendan Steele for the first two rounds at the Silverado Resort, with the Irishman trialling some new clubs in the bag for his return to competitive action.
“Srixon came out with a new set of irons,” Lowry added. “They look a little bit different to what I’ve been using, but they perform pretty much the same and I find the irons easy to change.
“And my driver, to be honest, I drove the ball pretty poorly over the last while and I do feel like there might be something wrong with the old driver. I used it for a couple of years, maybe it’s gone a little bit.
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