Sport Golf

Saturday 20 September 2014

Shane Lowry suffers unkindest cut in New Orleans

William S Callahan

Published 27/04/2013 | 10:32

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Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry

SHANE LOWRY missed the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans by one tantalising stroke after an agonising afternoon in the ‘Big Easy’.

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SHANE LOWRY missed the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans by one tantalising stroke after an agonising afternoon in the ‘Big Easy’.

Though Lowry rediscovered his scoring touch, rebounding from Thursday’s slipshod 74 with a fine second round 68, it proved to be too little, too late for the Clara man.

So, once again, his eager pursuit of the American golfing dream brought little joy for Lowry as he failed to make it through to the weekend for the third time in four recent outings on the PGA Tour.

At two-under, Lowry was tied 72nd, 10 shots off the 36-hole lead established by 2009 US Open Champion Lucas Glover with a 67. Boo Weekley was one back in second after he too shot 68 on a day to savour at Avondale.

Scoring conditions were vastly improved as warm sunshine dried out the fairways and the northerly wind, which brought a real chill on Thursday, dropped to a gentle zephyr.

Chinese schoolboy sensation Tianlang Guan plainly benefitted from a little more run on the fairways as he posted an assured 69 and, at just 14, became the youngest player to make the cut at a regular PGA Tour event.

Two weeks ago, Guan brilliantly earned his place in sporting history by becoming the youngest golfer to play all four rounds at the Masters or, indeed, any Major Championship in the modern era.

After Thursday’s level par 72, yesterday’s effort left Guan on three-under, an astonishing effort for one so young and slight on a course measuring 7400 yards.

Weighing-in at just under nine stone, some 100 pounds lighter than Lowry, Guan gives away dozens of yards to golfing heavyweights like Bubba Watson, the longest player in the field.

Yet this golfing genius from Guangzhou hits his hybrid clubs and long-irons with uncanny accuracy, while he punches well above his weight around the green.

Unlike the Masters, where he failed to make any three-putts as he claimed the silver medal for leading amateur, Guan’s three-stabbed twice in New Orleans, including from 40 feet for bogey at 14 yesterday.

More typical, however, was the 12 footer he sank for birdie at 13, while he holed-out brilliantly from six yards off the green for his second of the day at 16.

Guan’s accuracy from the fairway left him putts of just three feet at one, six feet at four and four feet at seven for his three birdies on the way home, while his second bogey came at six, where he hit his tee shot into the water.

Of course, Lowry also made history as an amateur, albeit at age 21, by winning the 2009 Irish Open and fireworks were expected when he won for the first times as a professional at last October’s Portugal Masters.

Yet it hasn’t quite happened for Lowry in 2013. He opened decently, filling ninth place at the Volvo Champions, but then missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Lowry created a sensation at the Accenture Match Play by beating Rory McIlroy in the opening round; then steam-rolled Carl Pettersson in the second before Graeme McDowell took him out.

A couple of missed cuts in Puerto Rico and Houston last month were followed by an encouraging tie for 15th the Texas Open in San Antonio. Yet after a poor performance last weekend at the Open de Espana, Lowry struggled to make or take chances on Thursday, landing just one birdie at the par five 18th.

Yesterday’s tally of 25 putts was a vast improvement on his first round 34, while Lowry also holed-out brilliantly from 14 yards in a greenside bunker for birdie at two.

However, his failure to make birdie after landing just 23 yards short of the green in two at the par five seventh would epitomise Lowry’s efforts in New Orleans and, ultimately, seal his fate. 

Des Smyth and Mark James got their bid for a hat-trick of titles in the 36-hole Raphael Division at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf off to a fine start yesterday.

A better-ball 67 placed Europe’s two Ryder Cup amigos in a five-way tie for fourth, two behind leaders Ian Baker-Finch and Bart Bryant and Keith Fergus and Blaine McCallister. Brad Faxon and Jeff Sluman led the main event by one after a 10-under 62.

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