Thursday 29 September 2016

Lowry needs strong finish in Shanghai for rankings bid

William S Callahan

Published 13/11/2015 | 02:30

'Once Lowry gets momentum, his confidence builds and he has the quality to go low on any golf course'
'Once Lowry gets momentum, his confidence builds and he has the quality to go low on any golf course'

Is 'solid' going to be enough for Shane Lowry in this weekend's BMW Masters at Lake Malaren GC in Shanghai if he is to challenge Rory McIlroy for the Race To Dubai honours next week?

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McIlroy is not playing this week, but the answer to that question is most likely 'no' for Lowry, because other top contenders for McIlroy's crown, including Justin Rose and Danny Willett, are similarly motivated.

Lowry's opening bid was a two-under-par 70, for tied-24. He needs to finish in the top two if he is take the number one slot from McIlroy going into Dubai next week.

That's a tall order from his starting position, but if the Offaly native can get his putter working well, anything is possible.

Once Lowry gets momentum, his confidence builds and he has the quality to go low on any golf course.

Sergio Garcia is in the mood to party as was evident by his scintillating 64 in round one - a score which he compiled with stunning accuracy off the tee and a very consistent display of approach work.

Garcia hit all 14 fairways, and was on 17 of the 18 greens in regulation.

The Spaniard's 64 set a hot early pace and still left him only a shot ahead of An Byeong-Hun of Korea and Victor Dubuisson of France.

Olympics

Garcia, 35, hopes to keep this form going as it is his last European Tour event of the campaign and he looks ahead to a busy 2016 which includes the Olympic Games in Rio.

"I haven't qualified yet but I'm excited about having the chance of representing Spain in the Olympics. I'm excited to be considered as an Olympian. Excited to get there and see some of the other athletes, and some of the other sports and everything," he explained.

"For me, it's a thrill and I would love to be there and have the possibility of winning an Olympic medal for my country and for myself. I've watched it on TV many times but I've never been to the Olympics."

Paul McGinley, the only other Irishman in the field at Shanghai, carded a 71, one-under par.

Meanwhile, a host of former Tour winners, including Ireland's Peter Lawrie and Damien McGrane, will embark on the six-round Tour Schools finals marathon at PGA Catalunya. Play begins tomorrow and ends next Thursday.

The annual trial by ordeal brings 156 candidates who play for 25 Tour Cards for the 2016 season on the Stadium and Tour courses at the renowned golf resort. There will be a cut after four rounds, with the top 70 and ties through to the last 36 holes. The full Irish contingent is: Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane, Kevin Phelan, Brian Casey, Paul Dunne, Ruaidhri McGee, and Simon Thornton.

BMW Masters

Live, Sky Sports 4, 3.0am

OHL Classic at Mayakoba

Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0pm

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