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Shane Lowry hoping to make the...
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Shane Lowry hoping to make the most of familiar conditions in Saudi Arabia this week

Shane Lowry will play alongside world number one Brooks Koepka and former Masters winner Sergio Garcia for the first two rounds of the Saudi International. 

The Offaly man has been in mixed form at the start of the new European Tour season, he missed the cut in defending his crown at the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi before securing an 11th-place finish in Dubai last weekend.

"It's very much a Middle East style golf course and something that I like the look of straightaway. It's in great condition," the Open champion told reporters ahead of this week's tournament.

"Hopefully I can go out and play well but I do really like the look of the golf course and, as I said, it's in absolutely perfect condition, so I'm looking forward to it.

"I've done well in Abu Dhabi, Race to Dubai, played okay in the Desert Classic the last couple of years, it's the type of golf that I like.

"The wind picks up here in the afternoon, which would suit me a little bit as well. It is a type of golf that I do enjoy playing. It's perfect weather and a perfect condition golf course. You wouldn't want to be playing anywhere else, it's just perfect."

Lowry says he's looking forward to playing in Saudi Arabia for the first time in his career:

"It's always cool and interesting to come to new places. I find The European Tour is always like that. You always go to different places, see different cultures. It is pretty cool to come to a new place and see what it's like.

"Coming here, you don't know what to expect, and it's been really nice so far. I've enjoyed my time so far here."

The 33-year-old says he's also looking forward to competing in the Olympics in Toyko this summer.

"My flight's booked. I'm due to fly out the Wednesday after The Open and go to the Opening Ceremony and hopefully play.

"Being Irish, we don't win many Gold Medals at the Olympics. So I think that's one goal that I have in my head, that I think it would be incredible to bring a Gold Medal back to Ireland. That's kind of the way I'm going about it this year.

"I think the Olympics will grow and golf will grow in the Olympics and I think in 20, 30 years' time, I think it will be huge. It will be like a fifth Major."

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