Sunday 25 June 2017

Lowry class earns place in Dubai finale

Karl MacGinty, IN VALDERRAMA

SHANE LOWRY showed his class on Europe's toughest golf course as he swept into fourth place in the Andalucia Masters and booked his ticket to the season-ending Dubai World Championship for the first time.

Lowry was worth every cent and more of the €150,000 cheque which yesterday lifted him 20 places to 43rd in the Race to Dubai.

It was earned with his first sub-par round at Valderrama, a superb 67, which was joint-lowest of the final day and moved this proud son of Clara to three-under, three behind winner Sergio Garcia.

Many factors established Lowry as one of Europe's brightest prospects, not least the way in which he laughed in the face of any adversity he encountered on a trying course.

Lowry's honesty, meanwhile, is almost as refreshing as the sublime short game and deft putting touch on greased-lightning greens, which kept him in contention right up to yesterday's finish.

Afterwards, Lowry (24) revealed that even though he'd trailed Garcia by seven shots yesterday morning, he'd set out to win; that he'd examined leaderboards all the way round and that he was intensely frustrated to miss telling birdie putts at 17 and 18.

"Tomorrow I may be happy, but I'm disappointed now," he said, conceding a mixture of excitement and nerves caused him to bolt his three-foot putt at 17 six feet past the hole.

Lowry showed his bottle by holing that daunting one back for par.

As for the 12-foot putt which stopped inches short at the last, he'd failed to note a slight incline in the final few feet.

Lowry's approach shots to the infamous 17th (a 212-yard four-iron) and 18th (a 166-yard six-iron right over the pin) had been masterful, as was the low, drawing four-iron he threaded between the trees and out of trouble for par at the second.

A hat-trick of birdies at four, five and six set up the 2009 Irish Open champion for his third fourth-place finish as a pro and as one of only six players under par over the 72 holes.

While those two missed putts cost him outright third and €37,800, that'll be a drop in the ocean when the proceeds of his career are counted.

Rock-solid Peter Lawrie rose one place to 53rd in the Race to Dubai after a closing 70 earned him €41,400 for a share of 15th on four-over.

Irish Independent

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