Shane Lowry has never been in better form heading into an Irish Open, but the 2009 champion will not be shouting it from the rooftops.
Lowry was still an amateur when he won the title at Baltray a decade ago but has struggled to reproduce that form on home soil ever since, recording just one top-10 finish from nine appearances.
However, the 32-year-old will contest the £5.5million event at Lahinch this week - having claimed his fourth European Tour title in Abu Dhabi in January - and in excellent recent form which includes a tie for eighth in the US PGA and second place behind Rory McIlroy in the Canadian Open.
“I’m feeling good, it’s probably the best form-wise I’ve ever come into an Irish Open but I’m doing my best to try and play down my expectations and just go out there and enjoy it,” said the world number 35, the top-ranked Irish player in the field with McIlroy absent. “I think golfers are like that. We’re not like boxers, we don’t stand there and say ‘I’m definitely going to win’.
“I know how fickle this game is and I know as soon as you feel like you have it mastered it can jump up and bite you quicker than you expect.
“I will have expectations of doing well this week, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t, but I’m just trying to play them down in my own head and just play my own game.
“I don’t think anything would top 2009 but I don’t even want to start thinking about what it would mean to me to win the Irish Open again. I come and play every year and do my best.
“Hopefully I’ve got another good 15 or 20 Irish Opens in me, hopefully I give myself a few chances (to win) and if I do, I’ll be giving it my best to take it with both hands.
“The golf course is somewhere you can get a score going but it can get away from you fairly quickly out there as well so I just need to take it one shot at a time, try and shoot as good a score as I can on Thursday.
“No matter what I shoot today I’ve got to shoot a good score tomorrow. That’s the way I’m going about my business this year.”