Harrington and Lowry aiming to feed off electric crowd in Spain
Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington will get a close-up view of the welcome accorded to Spanish golf heroes Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters today.
The home galleries will flock to watch these two conquistadors, and Irish duo Lowry and Harrington, both playing in marquee groups, will hope to feed off the excitement to ignite their own game.
Lowry tees off the 10th alongside Garcia and Andrew 'Beef' Johnston, who won the tournament last year. Harrington joins Rahm and two-time Major champion Martin Kaymer off the first tee. Rahm, third in the Race to Dubai rankings and fifth in the world, is buzzing at the thought of the atmosphere.
"It's going to be like an atomic bomb going off when I go to the first tee, which I'm really excited about," he said.
Garcia, the host and winner of the Andalucia Masters in 2011, is delighted with a return to a lay-out he describes as "my favourite golf course ever."
"It's the kind of golf course that, even though it's not long, it challenges you," he said.
Graeme McDowell, meanwhile, is in South Korea for the CJ Cup, a PGA Tour event.
On the women's scene, Leona Maguire plays in LPGA and Symetra Tour qualifying stage II at the Plantation Course in Florida.