Shane Lowry’s Ryder Cup form looks fine, in contention at Irish Open with Adrian Meronk on his heels

Shane Lowry has not had the best of seasons, hence why European Captain Luke Donald drew some criticism for his Ryder Cup selection.

Some even suggested that Adrian Meronk should have replaced Lowry on the European roster. But the Irishman has not had doubts in himself.

“I feel like I’ve not been far away,” Lowry said Thursday. “Never felt like I was too far away this year. I’m happy I’m on the team, and I feel I can add a lot. I feel like when it comes to Rome, I’ll be ready.”

Lowry is back home on the Emerald Isle for the Horizon Irish Open.

On Thursday, the man from County Offaly carded a 4-under 68. He sits three shots back of leader Shubhankar Sharma.

Shane Lowry plays his second shot on the ninth hole during the opening round of the 2023 Horizon Irish Open.
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

“I played nice and drew the ball well,” Lowry said of his opening round. “My iron play was good, and I rolled a couple of putts in. 68 is not bad around here. The rough is thick, and yeah, it’s tight fairways, so the greens were good. Lovely this morning, and I managed to roll a few in, so it was nice.”

The Irish Open is being contested at The K Club for the first time since 2016 when Rory McIlroy won the event. The K Club also hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Speaking of McIlroy, the Northern Irishman carded a 3-under 69 Thursday.

So too did Meronk, who admitted to feeling ‘shocked, sad, and angry’ over missing the Ryder Cup. Many feel he was snubbed from the team. One PGA Tour veteran even called it a crime.

“That was one of my goals this week, just to turn all the emotions into motivation,” Meronk said after his round Thursday. “I think it works. Hopefully, I can keep going and play better.”

Teeing off on the 10th hole, Meronk came out of the gates hot, birdieing his first two holes.

Adrian Meronk, Rory McIlroy, DP World Tour, Horizon Irish Open

Adrian Meronk played alongside Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel during the first two rounds of the 2023 Horizon Irish Open.
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

But a three-putt bogey at the par-3 12th quickly stalled his momentum.

“I played quite solid all day,” Meronk noted. “Could have been much lower, but I’m still happy with how I finished and where I am in the tournament, so yeah, solid day of work.”

Meronk made three more birdies and a bogey to finish at 3-under for the day, but the disappointment of missing the Ryder Cup in Rome remains at the forefront of his mind.

“[My emotions are] getting better every day, to be honest,” Meronk admitted. “Hopefully, I have a better attitude tomorrow, but today I just focused on myself and my strategy. I have to keep making good shots and swings.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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