Many Irish golf fans can easily recall the gutsy performance of their 22-year-old countryman, Shane Lowry, at the 2009 Irish Open. Although an amateur, the young lad outplayed the best pros in Europe and won after a three-hole playoff with Robert Rock.
He turned pro not long after, but more success came slowly. His first PGA Tour victory was at the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and he contended at the U.S. Open last June, holding a four-shot lead on Sunday before losing by three to Dustin Johnson. Lowry navigated the tight Oakmont fairways that week by often driving it 250 yards with his trusty 2-iron. Here you can see how he handles that club, with analysis from teaching pro Neil Manchip, whose full-time job is the National Coach of the Golfing Union of Ireland.
Lowry's swing is fluid and relaxed, but he has a competitive fire "bred into him by his father and uncles, who competed on the Offaly Gaelic football team," Manchip says. "In 1982, they defeated defending four-time champion Kerry." In other words, the Lowrys are tough.