Fatigued Shane Lowry faces his nemesis Carnoustie in R1 of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

The Irishman put in a heroic effort at Whistling Straits in the Ryder Cup, but he's feeling the after-effects as he prepares for Thursday's first round.

It's not difficult to read the words of Shane Lowry ahead of this week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and wonder if it's a golden opportunity to oppose him.

The vibe he's giving off is of a man who had a great Saturday night out, is sat slumped in the pub after Sunday lunch with his mates, and is trying really, really, really, really, really, really hard to convince himself that he wants to join them on the walk they've got planned.


And failing.

"Obviously it's going to be a little bit of a comedown from last week," the returning Ryder Cup star said. "Be interesting to see how it goes. But look, I'll just go out, play my best and see what happens."

There was no hiding that his passionate performance last week - one of the rare highs for the European team - has left the Irishman fatigued.

"Honestly the ideal thing for me would be home on the crouch," he admitted. "But I'm here now and it's great. I come here and play with the same partner every year, Gerry McManus, and that's the reason I'm here, to try to win.

"My dad and his friends always come over. It's a week I do love and I really enjoy getting to play the Old Course a couple of times. And you know, it's just so nice to be in St Andrews. So, yeah, I'm just happy to be here."

If that all sounded a little unconvincing, so did his observations of the weather forecast.

"It's not very nice," he said. "Just batten down the hatches and try to make a few birdies and try to enjoy your time out there with your partners. I've got a nice draw this week."

He ended with a final downbeat note.

"I can't believe I'm going to play Carnoustie at nine o'clock tomorrow morning to be perfectly honest," he admitted. "It's going to be hard to go out and play well, but I'm going to try my best."

And then he concluded with a counter-intuitive notion about his prospects.

"Maybe these are the weeks that you go out and play your best," he mused. "Might even have a chance to win the tournament at the end of it."

Let's take a closer look at his stats to see if they shed any light on his prospects.

Lowry in the Dunhill Links

He's made 11 starts in the tournament, missing just two cuts and landing six top 25 finishes.

All six of those better efforts have come in his last seven appearances, but he's only twice made the top 10: when third in 2013 and sixth in 2014.

Since then he's struggled to keep at least one poor score off his card: in four of his last five starts he's needed at least 72 blows on Thursday and he's twice shot a 75 on Friday.

Lowry in round one on Thursday

The good news: he starts with his good friend Padraig Harrington. The bad news: he's at Carnoustie.

He started there in 2019 and logged a 73 (he followed it with 66-64-69).

In 2018 he played Carnoustie in round two and needed 75 shots. The same year he carded 74-73 there to miss the cut in the Open (his championship rebound a year later was as good as it gets, mind).

It gets worse at Carnoustie. That other Friday 75 in his recent record book? Yep, that was there as well, in 2017.

In 2016? He opened there with a 72.

In 2015? Deja vu with his Carnoustie playing partner (Harrington) and his total was more of the same too: 74.

In 2014 he did manage a third round 71 at Carnoustie, but he had started the lap tied second and ended it T12th. He rebounded to sixth on Sunday but the track had cost him a tilt at the title.

There is an end to the bad news, however: in 2013 he carded a 64 there to leap into contention and he ended the week third.

Nonetheless, the evidence is pretty damning. He racks up a lot of big numbers at Carnoustie. Throw in the tiredness and, a paradoxically good day aside, he looks ripe to oppose in round one. Obviously his partner Harrington has issues of his own, but he's a big price on a course which holds fond memories for him (site of his first Open triumph).

Lowry has also been paired with his Ryder Cup team-mate Tommy Fleetwood in a 72-hole match bet.

They've played nine Dunhill Links Championship together in the past and Fleetwood leads the head-to-head 6-2.

Lowry on his Ryder Cup debut

"So I obviously watched Ryder Cups before and went to The K Club. But I'd never been involved in one. It was everything I had imagined and more. Honestly it was the most amazing week of my golfing career.

"It was something that I'll always remember for the rest of my life and hopefully I can be involved in many more of them. It was nothing but fond memories of the whole week. Disappointed to lose but we gave it our all and that's all you can ask."

Lowry on the American galleries at Whistling Straits

"I didn't think it was that bad until I asked my wife what it was like for her, and they got abuse coming around as well. It's not very nice for them to have to listen to this. But it's a small percentage of the crowd.

"The majority of the crowd, I finished my match on 16 on Sunday, and I was walking back to and follow the other groups, and I got a huge ovation off the crowd in the grandstand on 16. That was pretty cool.

"A home crowd, they are going to be a partisan crowd. But some of the stuff is not very nice. That's just the way it is. Some people are idiots, especially when they drink. Nobody turns into a genius drinking, and that's what they were doing last week.

"If you were out in the afternoon matches, it was loud. It was hard for us. As a team it was hard for us to perform our best because you stand up and you hit a 3-iron into ten feet from 250 yards and you don't even get a ripple of applause. You almost get booed for it. It's hard."

READ MORE: Can Tyrrell Hatton shake off Ryder Cup defeat and win a third Alfred Dunhill Links Championship?

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