Jun 16, 2013; Ardmore, PA, USA; Rory McIlroy walks up to the 18th hole during the final round of the 113th U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

2013 Irish Open: Players to Watch

The European Tour makes the journey to Ireland this week (June 27-30) for the 2013 Irish Open at the Montgomerie Course at Carlton House in Kildare.

The course is a Par 72, 6676m layout that sits on the Carton House estate which also features the O’Meara Course.

The event was last played at the course in 2006 where Thomas Bjorn beat Paul Casey by a shot.

We look at the chances of four players to watch this week in Ireland.

Rory McIlroy:

It has been a rocky start to the year for the former world number one but back in his home country, I’m confident that Rory can bounce back this week.

His schedule this year has been far from packed, but as he turns his attention to Europe leading up to the British Open he’s been saying the right stuff this week saying he’s ready to fire.

Despite not being able to win, McIlroy’s been able to put some good rounds together this season but is lacking consistency.

While I don’t think that the change to Nike equipment is to blame, a young man with as much talent as McIlroy won’t be far away from regaining his form.

Padraig Harrington:

After his blistering first two rounds last week at the Travelers Championship, Harrington would have been a red hot favourite this week at Carlton House, but his final two rounds of 72 and 80 left me scratching my head.

His putter was running hot on Thursday and Friday, but he imploded on the weekend hitting just 3 fairways and 3 greens on Sunday after a lacklustre third round of 72.

It will be interesting to see how Harrington responds to his disappointing finish, but if he can get his head back in the right place, he should be in for a good week in his home country.

Shane Lowry:

A closing round of 65 last week in Munich, the best round of his year so far has left me believing that Lowry is hitting his straps, warming up to the British Open.

Lowry has the advantage over the majority of the field this week playing on his home course at Carlton House.

After Munich last week, Lowry was quoted saying that his swing is close to being really, really good and is taking a lot of confidence into the week and I’m also confident that he will be in the mix.

Thomas Bjorn:

Bjorn had the putter rolling nicely last week in Munich finishing second to Ernie Els by a single shot, which was his third top 5 finish in a row.

His wedge play was on fire and was -3 thru 5 holes in the final round holding the lead. A double bogey on 14 though saw him drop out of the lead, but with two closing birdies he was able to finish one shot back.

The 42-year old won the tournament the last time it was played at Carlton House in 2006, and comes into the week in excellent form.

Follow me on Twitter @FromTheFairways.

Tags: 2013 Irish Open Padraig Harrington Rory McIlroy Shane Lowry

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