"Ultimately, it's probably going to come down to the last couple of events. I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing all year. It's very exciting that I'm there and I'm looking forward to the challenge.

"Obviously I want to keep trying to pick up some Ryder Cup points and keep challenging myself every day to shoot the best scores I can, and just kind of keep playing my golf, keep doing what I've been doing all year, and to win the Race to Dubai, that would kind of top off what has already been an incredible year.

Lowry is still basking in the glory of his Open victory at Portrush
Lowry is still basking in the glory of his Open victory at Portrush

Lowry will play the opening two rounds in Rome with home favourite Francesco Molinari, the man he replaced as Open champion, and the Italian is bidding for his third win on home soil after narrowly missing out on the hat-trick last May.

Molinari still has fresh and fond memories of claiming his maiden European Tour victory at Castello di Tolcinasco in 2006, and he delighted the Milan fans again three years ago when he pipped Danny Willett to the title by a single stroke.

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Francesco Molinari is looking for his third victory on home soil at this week's Italian Open, 13 years after he made his European Tour breakthrough in Milan.
Francesco Molinari is looking for his third victory on home soil at this week's Italian Open, 13 years after he made his European Tour breakthrough in Milan.

"I think the first win on Tour, I never knew it was coming and, obviously at home, I think no one really expected me to win at the beginning of the week," he said. "You could almost feel the expectations growing through the week, and it was just an amazing relief on the 18th green, seeing all the people there celebrating, lots of friends and families.

"I couldn't have asked for a better first win on Tour, but the second one was different. Many, many years later, and obviously different circumstances and different expectations from the start. I had a pretty solid season that year, but I had not won in a few years.

Francesco Molinari bids for a hat-trick of home wins this week
Francesco Molinari bids for a hat-trick of home wins this week

"In a home event, if you start well, you can feel the vibe changing and people kind of expecting you to win and to bring the trophy home. Yeah, I just remember the back nine on Sunday, really not playing my best golf, but just grinding hard and again, huge relief on the 18th green."

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