Shane Lowry cannot wait to return to his homeland when the former champion arrives at Donegal’s Ballyliffin Golf Club for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, the fourth Rolex Series event of the 2018 Race to Dubai, from July 5-8.
Lowry has for the first time in his career been based in the Unites States of America for the first half of this season, and the 31 year old has enjoyed consistent form without yet threatening to add to his trophy cabinet.
He notched up a top 15 finish in his opening Rolex Series appearance of the campaign at the BMW PGA Championship, but as a links expert who has already won on home soil, he will no doubt be chomping at the bit to take on the stunning Glashedy Course at Ballyliffin on the north west coast of Ireland.
The vociferous home crowds will be cheering the popular Offaly player all the way, Lowry having provided one of the most memorable moments in the 91-year history of the event in 2009 with a dramatic victory as an amateur.
“I think Ballyliffin will be a brilliant venue for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open,” said the three-time European Tour winner.
“I have a lot of fond memories of playing Interprovincial Championships there so it will be great to go back there. It’s one of those weeks on Tour that you have to adapt to.
“For most of the Irish lads, you need to treat it like a massive event because you have so much on so you actually need to prepare differently to most other weeks.
“Stuff like doing a lot more media, seeing a lot more friends and family, trying to give as much time to the fans are fantastic problems to have, but you to need to remember to get ready for the tournament! But I don’t think any of us would have it any other way – it’s one of the special weeks on Tour for everyone associated with Irish golf.
“The tournament itself is massive now with it being on the Rolex Series and with such a committed sponsor like Dubai Duty Free. They have, along with Rory obviously, taken it to a new level over the past few years and it’s brilliant to see the tournament getting back to the way it was with huge crowds, great fields and big prize money.
“It will always have a special place in my heart for obvious reasons. It launched my career when I won it as an amateur and I would love nothing more than to win it again as a pro.”
Lowry, along with his fellow home heroes McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Paul Dunne, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Paul McGinley, will be joined at Ballyliffin Golf Club by an impressive line-up of international players.
Leading those will be the defending champion and World Number Five Jon Rahm, who will be chasing a third Rolex Series title in the space of 10 months, while his Spanish compatriot Rafa Cabrera Bello will be hoping to add a second ahead of his Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open title defence a week later.
Tickets for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation are on sale at www.dubaidutyfreeirishopen.com and begin at €20 for Pro-Am Wednesday, with tickets for Thursday and Friday costing €32 and day tickets for the weekend costing €34 each.
An adult season souvenir ticket, which covers five days of world class golf from Wednesday to Sunday, costs just €110. Concessions are available for customers aged over 60 and between 14 and 17, while children up to 13 are permitted free entry when accompanied by a ticket holding adult.
Fans will also be treated to a festival of music as country star Nathan Carter headlines the ‘Glashedy Sessions’ on the Friday night of the tournament. A host of exciting local bands will also entertain the crowds at the Glashedy Stage, including popular four-piece the Logues and regular favourites the Groove Robbers.