Lowdown:
The European Tour visits the Emerald Isle this week for the 3 Irish Open at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club in County Kerry. Shane Lowry defends a title he won last year as an amateur.
There’s a new venue and a new slot for this year’s 3 Irish Open. The tournament returns to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club in County Kerry for the first time since Sir Nick Faldo took the second of his three Irish Open titles at the venue in 1992. After five years being contested in May, the competition has shifted to this week in July.
Last season at County Louth GC, Shane Lowry (playing as an amateur) was the shock winner. The Irishman had huge home support as he came through a playoff against England’s Robert Rock. Lowry is back this year as a professional to defend his title and will be joined in the field by a host of players from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke will all tee it up.
This is one of the richest events on the regular European Tour schedule with a first prize of €500,000 up for grabs. As such, it’s a great chance for those on the fringes of Ryder Cup qualification to make a move towards earning a spot in the team. Padraig Harrington, Ross Fisher and Justin Rose will be among those looking to take advantage.

Venue: Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Date: Jul 29 – Aug 1
Course stats: par 71, 7,161 yards
Purse: €3,000,000 Winner: €500,000
Defending Champion: Shane Lowry (-17)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 29 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am
Friday 30 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am
Saturday 31 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1.30pm
Sunday 1 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12pm

Player Watch:
Rory McIlroy – He finished tied third in the Open Championship despite a disastrous second round of 80. He’s on good form and is feeling confident. If he plays to his potential he could blow the field away.
Robert Rock – He was runner-up to Lowry last year, losing in a playoff. He’s become a solid and consistent performer over the past two seasons.
Justin Rose – The Englishman needs a good performance to climb the Ryder Cup rankings. He’ll be determined to pick up a sizeable cheque here.

Key hole: 16th. A par 5 of just 519 yards, this is a hole where the players will be looking to make up shots. Depending on the wind, it should be reachable in two for the whole field so anything less than a birdie will feel like a disappointment here.

Skills required: Staying dry. Water comes into play on 11 of the 18 holes. Lough Leane provides the threat on the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 10th holes.