Shane Lowry says he is excited by the prospect of partnering Phil Mickelson on the opening two days at the US Open.
The Irishman will play alongside Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen on Thursday and Friday at Brookline Country Club, Massachusetts, with Lefty sure to be the star attraction (1st Round 3 Balls – Lowry 21/20, Oosthuizen 17/10, Mickelson 16/5).
The US Open is the only major missing in the 52-year-old Mickelson’s pursuit of the Grand Slam, having finished either second outright or tied an incredible six times.
Mickelson is also returning to competitive golf for the first time in four months, suggesting he will be the focus of the galleries when he heads out at 18:47.
Lowry is looking forward to that extra attention, and the County Offaly man is hardly a stranger to playing in front of an expectant crowd, having won the Open at Royal Portrush in 2019.
The 35-year-old’s form this year has been decent, highlighted by a T3 at the Masters and he feels ready to embrace what he believes will be a “mental battle” in Boston.
“I’m in a good group, it’s going to be loud out there and it’s going to be enjoyable,” Lowry told Sky Sports News. “He [Mickelson] got a really good reception here this week and I’m sure it will be the same tomorrow.
“The last time I played with him [in a major] was in Portrush, the first two rounds of The Open, so hopefully it’s a similar result this week!
“It’s going to be a huge mental battle, you’re going to need to hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. The greens are going to get firm and fast and probably get burned out a little bit. The forecast is really good, I think we’ve seen the golf course as easy as we’re going to see it.”
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy (10/1 FAV US Open Outright) admits he has a “pep” in his step as he eyes US Open glory fresh from his victory at last week’s Canadian Open.
The Northern Irishman (18/1 First-Round Leader) outlasted Tony Finau and Justin Thomas to win by two strokes in Toronto and seal his 21st PGA Tour title.
After winning for the first time in 2022, he has now set his sights on a fifth major title at Brookline.
McIlroy’s last one came at the 2014 PGA Championship and he will have to break a run that has seen no player win a major the week after claiming victory on the PGA Tour since he did just that when backing up at Valhalla having won the WGC-Bridgestone seven days prior.
Having broken his major duck at the US Open in 2011, he believes the stage is set for him to add to his tally this week.
“It [winning] certainly puts a pep in your step,” McIlroy said in his pre-tournament press conference. “It gives you a lot of confidence.”
McIlroy is set to partner Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama over the first two days.