PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — Shane Lowry knew it was coming, it was only a matter of when. As it turned out, it was the third question from the media during the Irishman’s press conference on Saturday after his sensational 63 to take a four-stroke lead at the Open Championship.
So, about Oakmont …
Before this week at Royal Portrush, Lowry’s only other significant run in a major championship came in June 2016, when he carried a … wait for it … four-stroke lead going into the final round of the U.S. Open outside of Pittsburgh.
The outcome was not what Lowry had hoped. A difficult start led to a six-over-par 76 and an eventual tie for second, three shots behind winner Dustin Johnson.
Three years later, Lowry insists he’s moved on, and … wait for it … grown from the experience. He’s a father now, and says that’s changed his approach to golf.
“It probably doesn’t mean as much to me as it did then, which is going to make it a little bit easier,” Lowry said. “I feel like I’m a different person. I don’t think I’m a much different golfer, but I feel like I’m a different person now. I think that’s what will help me tomorrow.”
What takeaway from Oakmont will be most helpful for Lowry when he faces the same situation on Sunday at Portrush? Lowry’s answer had almost too much honesty to it.
“There’s no point in saying to go out and enjoy myself tomorrow, because it’s going to be a very stressful and very difficult day,” Lowry said. “So I’m going to go out, I’m going to take the bad shots on the chin and I’m going to take the good shots and try to capitalize on that. I’m just going to be myself and play my game and see where it leaves me.”
“I’m not going to be sitting there tomorrow morning in the house in a corner trying not to think about the day ahead. Obviously I’ll go to bed thinking about holding the claret jug tomorrow evening. It’s only natural, isn’t it? We’re human. We’re not robots. We can’t not think about things. And when you try not to think about something, you end up thinking about it more, so you might as well talk about it.”