Open champion Shane Lowry determined to drive on in 2020

Josh Hill

Brooks Koepka of the United States will headline a star-studded field in Abu Dhabi from Thursday.

Defending champion at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is Irishman Shane Lowry. A past victor in the desert, the American has made no secret of his desire to increase his power through a physical transformation, which has allowed him to hit as many as five clubs less into some of the greens in Abu Dhabi during practice rounds this week.

The world No. 1 is in town keen to show why he is there on top of the heap.

"I was trying to squeeze a lot of practice in, more practice than I normally do", added Lowry, who finished second in the Asian Tour's Hong Kong Open last week. But he intends to enjoy himself while bidding to add more silverware to his burgeoning trophy cabinet.

"I love this place", he told the European Tour's website. "It's not fun", said Koepka, who first injured his knee back in March - but still managed to win his second Wannamaker Trophy at Bethpage Black, less than two months later. To be called out like that was kind of weird, but it is what it is and I take it and I understand it.

"This course, this tournament, against this field every year is a really, really hard tournament to win and it obviously kickstarted an unbelievable season". "I told them, even on the PGA TOUR, when things happened, I welcome them". Anybody who plays this game knows that a lot of it is built on confidence, a lot of form is built on confidence and that's what I gained from here past year.

The practice round was set up by Koepka's coach, Claude Harmon, who is attached to the Dubai training centre used by Hill.

The 15-year-old became the youngest victor of an official world-ranking event in Al Ain last October and will be making his European Tour debut this week. "There is an enthusiasm to get out there and play". You play on Thursday at 8.10 a.m. from the first tee. "Being named like that was a bit odd, but it is what it is and I take it and understand it".

"From that moment on, after a couple days of hitting balls and not feeling pain, I knew I could get back here and do this and finally play". "It's cool to see".

Six of the world's best golfers today predicted how the game of golf could change dramatically over the next 10 years including an increase in the speed of play, as the European Tour season kicks into gear at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

"Obviously, it would be nice to win", he said.

With this being the first Rolex Series event of the season, the odds are high that the victor of this event will take the top spot on the Race to Dubai leaderboard come Sunday evening. It's what you want to win. I think I need to really look at and pick courses that suit me and that I've done well on in the past and make sure I go back there. And there are many times out there, more than anything, our group is waiting for people to leave., So I certainly don't want to be waiting for the players.



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