Lowry books US Open spot
Published 26/05/2014 | 23:07
Shane Lowry maintained his excellent form from the BMW PGA Championship as he booked his spot at next month's US Open by winning the 36-hole qualifying event, but three-time major winner Padraig Harrington missed out.
The Irishman finished runner-up to Rory McIlroy at Wentworth over the weekend, but put any disappointment to one side by carding an eight-under-par overall score in heavy wind and rain at Walton Heath Golf Club.
He recorded a 69 on the new course on Monday morning before bettering that with a 67 on the old course to clinch one of the 14 qualifying places from the 105-man event.
"It was really tough out there," Lowry said on www.europeantour.com.
"I played okay and putted really, really well. I holed a lot of six to eight footers for par and carried a lot of momentum in from yesterday to get the job done.
"I just tried to play steady from there and not lose my head. It was tough last week and then 36 holes in this weather was very tough.
"Majors are where I want to be playing. Last week I was comfortable competing down the stretch with the likes of Thomas Bjorn, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, so I've got a lot of confidence and I'll take that with me to Pinehurst."
English duo Simon Griffiths and Graeme Storm and Scotland's Chris Doak were among the nine players to automatically qualify alongside Lowry, with Niclas Fasth, Marcel Siem, Max Kieffer, Garth Mulroy, Shiv Kapur and Brooks Koepka also earning their place at the second major of the season.
But six other players had to compete in a play-off for the four remaining spots. English duo Oliver Fisher and Tom Lewis, plus Andrea Pavan and Lucas Bjerregaard sealed their spots, meaning Morten Madsen and Danny Willett had to be content with alternate places.
Among those who missed out was Harrington, who was tied for fourth at the 2012 US Open and is a two-time champion of the Open as well as the 2008 US PGA Championship winner. He carded a 75 and a 71.
The Irishman remained upbeat, however, telling Sky Sports: "Definitely it wasn't good, but I'm certainly putting that down to just a little bit of fatigue, it's been a long couple of weeks.
"I'm really positive about things, trying to to stay confident. Probably the most important thing is trying to stay upbeat and let it happen."
Ryder Cup-winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal, himself a two-time major winner, also finished outside the top 14 after finishing level with Harrington on a two over par overall score.