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Ambitious Lowry skips School

IRELAND'S Shane Lowry has abandoned plans to enter the PGA Tour qualifying school after winning the Portugal Masters and instead is targetting a place in the world's top 50.

THE 25-year-old was due to fly to the States for the first stage of qualifying this week, but has now entered next week's BMW Masters in Shanghai instead.

Lowry has also earned a spot in the WGC-HSBC Champions event at Mission Hills the following week.

The Offaly man's victory in Portugal saw him rise 54 places in the latest world rankings to a career-high 74th and he is desperate to move into the world's top 50 as it would automatically qualify him for most of the world's top events.

"I've decided not to go to Tour School now. I'm 74th in the world and I've got to back myself to do well and try to get into the top 50 before the end of the year," said Lowry.

"I've now got four huge tournaments in five weeks, with lots of world ranking points. If you get into the top 50 you can pretty much play where you want, so that's obviously the main goal."

The Clara native believes Sunday's dramatic victory over England's Ross Fisher ranks higher than his Irish Open success in 2009 when he was an amateur.

"It feels better than 2009 because I needed to go out there and shoot a score. I went into the back nine a few behind. I needed to do something special and I did," he said.

"Knowing that I can do that when I'm under the gun gives me more confidence going into bigger tournaments now. I reckon it will set me up for the future.

"It's also a monkey off my back. I'm progressing every year and that's all I can ask for.

"I feel like hopefully the floodgates will start to open now."