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Graeme McDowell has set a VERY low target to seal Irish Open success at Ballyliffin

And the 2010 US Open champ is convinced he can do it

By Gareth Hanna

Anyone used to playing links golf knows it can be a lion ready to maul even the brightest talent.

But when normally accompanying wind and rain subside, the ferocious beast can quickly turn into a pussycat.

Graeme McDowell reckons that could be the case at Ballyliffin's famously difficult Glashedy Links at this week's Irish Open.

With temperatures expecting to stay over 20°C and wind speeds incredibly low for Ireland's north coast, the world's best golfers may be set to sparkle.

G Mac even reckons the scoring could reach incredibly low levels, even if he does think the initially impressive course has further improved in recent years.

"You know, I think looking at the forecast, you're going to need 20-under par this week," he said after carding a clubhouse lead score in the Pro Am, playing alongside Ballyliffin General Manager John Farren, President John McGeoghegan and captain Paddy McDermott.

"You're going to have to play aggressive golf. I played with the Captain, the President and the General Manager this morning and I was just sort of trying to prepare them for 25-under. Doesn't mean this is a bad golf course. St. Andrews would get ripped to shreds in flat-calm conditions, as well. That's just the nature of links golf.

"I was trying to make sure that they were fully prepared for getting their golf course bleeding come the weekend and making sure that they realise that doesn't mean it's a bad golf course. Because you take any golf course on The Open rotation, for example, and give it 25 Celsius and flat-calm conditions, and the best players in the world will make it look silly.

"I see this as a potentially low-scoring event because it doesn't look l the wind is going to materialise much. But as we know, it's the north coast of Ireland and anything can happen."

McDowell hasn't won a tournament since the 2015 OHL Mayakoba Classic in Mexico but nonetheless, he's convinced he can win the Irish Open for the first time this week.

"I think experience and perspective has helped me with The Irish Opens over the years," he said.

"I used to put a lot of pressure on myself as a young Irish player, coming to The Irish Open, I felt the pressure and expectation level from the crowd. Maybe went through a few years where the social scene was a little too fun for me. The Guinness was tasting maybe a little too good for me in certain parts of Ireland.

"You come home and see family and friends and it's easy to get into that real relaxed state of mind, as well."

"I'm looking at it very much as an opportunity. It's another opportunity, and I look at this golf course, you know, it's not a bomber's track. The bunkers are really -- I don't remember the bunkers being this well positioned when I was here ten years ago.

"It's pretty tactical, pretty strategic and the greens are really, really good. I feel like I can make a lot of putts on these greens, as well.

"It doesn't feel like a regular Irish Open to me. It feels like a real opportunity for me where I just put my head down and see what I can do. Of course I'd love to win an Irish Open."

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