Tuesday 22 August 2017

Lowry keeps the faith but challenging times await

Offaly star keeping changes to the minimum in his efforts to get back into winning groove

Shane Lowry at yesterday’s launch of the One for Ireland campaign which focusses on youth mental health. Image: Maxwell Photography
Shane Lowry at yesterday’s launch of the One for Ireland campaign which focusses on youth mental health. Image: Maxwell Photography

Michael Verney

Recent results may not suggest that Shane Lowry is about to hit a rich vein of form but the Offaly golfer feels good things are around the corner as he prepares to get back to his best for the busiest part of the season.

Having missed the cut at the Masters earlier this month before tying 44th at RBC Heritage, duty called as he returned home to spend time with wife Wendy and newborn daughter Iris, as well as skipping Rory McIlroy's plush wedding to attend his granny's 80th birthday in Esker Hills.

While joking that he must now get back to his day job and "pay for the Pampers", starting out with next week's Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina, the 30-year-old is keen to banish a string of disappointing finishes and expects things to click during a "fairly manic" period.

"I really feel like good golf is very close. I'm just trying to be very patient at the minute. It has been very frustrating. I haven't played that much this year so I just have to try and keep doing what I've been doing. I feel like I'm doing all the right things," Lowry said.

"It just hasn't happened for me yet. I'm not going to try and force it. I'm just going to try and go out next week and try and play my way into the tournament and see what happens after that. This is the time of season where I start to play well so I'm just hoping it's the same this year.

"My good weeks have always been at the middle of the season so I need to just keep my head down and keep doing what I'm doing. I feel like I'm doing the right things.

After teeing up alongside eventual green jacket winner Sergio Garcia for the opening two days of the Masters and believing that he outplayed the Spaniard for much of the first 36 holes at Augusta, Lowry takes great confidence heading into peak season.

Aside from last year's tied second at the US Open, there's no getting away from the fact that the Clara man's form has tailed off since winning the Bridgestone Invitational in August 2015, however, with his ranking slipping from a career-high of 17 to his current mark of 69.

From being an automatic choice in Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup team last season, the Clara native looks to have hit a bit of a slump, although he's keen to stress that he's fine fettle.

A good start has rarely been the issue for him, but consistency has dogged his efforts to fight it out at the top of leaderboards in the past 20 months.

Slump

Lowry's confidence in his own ability, despite facing one of the most challenging periods of his professional career, is staggering, however, and he operates by the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' mantra and he's sure he can strike when the iron, and putter, is hot.

"If it was easy everyone would be doing it, I'm out there trying my best, it's not happening for me now but I know it will, I know all I need to do is keep going, I know I'm good enough and my golf is good enough and that at some stage it'll turn around," he said.

"I don't think there's any drastic changes that need to be made, I feel quite happy with where I am. Sometimes people around you can get quite anxious, people think there's a need for change when you're not playing great but I almost feel like you need to go back to basics and back to what you did when you were playing your best.

"Maybe that's what I've done on the greens, I've struggled on the greens for the last eight months and tried to change too much I think. I've just gone back to basics, what I know best, and I'm hoping that that's the answer.

"I don't look too far ahead. I don't look back. I definitely don't look to what happened last week. There's times you look at how you can improve on last week, but I just have to get up every morning and look at what's going to make me better at my golf. I know at some stage it will be good enough, I just have to wait for that time to come.

"After I missed the cut at the Open in 2015, I went away from that and if you were to start to think what went wrong that week and over-analyse it too much. I wouldn't have won the following week in Akron, you just have to wait for good weeks to come."

As part of a golden generation of Irish golfers, it irks Lowry somewhat that "all people focus on is the Majors" as he feels "there's a lot more to golf" than the four marquee events and his sights are set on leaving his own unique stamp at the business end of tournaments once again.

Shane Lowry was speaking at the One for Ireland campaign which calls on people to give €1 for Youth Mental Health this May Bank Holiday Weekend

Indo Sport

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport