Grateful Lowry leaves the nest as grants unveiled
SHANE Lowry gave the Team Ireland Golf Trust a big 'thumbs up' for helping him embark on his professional career last May -- and then opted out of the scheme for this year.
Lowry's shock win as an amateur in last year's '3' Irish Open dramatically accelerated his entry to the professional ranks, and the Golf Trust came on board quickly with €20,000 to help with his expenses.
The gesture was appreciated by Lowry, who went on to earn over €200,000 by the end of his relatively short but valuable 2009 Tour campaign.
Lowry was then in a position to express his thanks to the Golf Trust and agree with its administrators that he would not need a grant this year.
His experience justified the aims of the Trust which exists to help fledgling professionals literally buy time and gain a firm foothold in Tour golf.
Yesterday grants for 2010, totalling €217,000 for 17 golfers, were announced by Martin Cullen, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism.
Among the recipients is Alison Walshe, the Galway-born golfer who played Curtis Cup for the USA two years ago.
Walshe, who receives the sum of €20,000, has a Ladies European Tour card and playing privileges on the LPGA Tour.
She has declared for Ireland in order to challenge for a place on the Solheim Cup team for the 2011 match in Killeen Castle and opens her LET season in the Pegasus New Zealand Women's Open at Christchurch tomorrow.
European Tour rookie Simon Thornton also gets €20,000, as do Ladies Tour players Martina Gillen, and Tara Delaney.
Walker Cup player Niall Kearney, who turned pro after the GB & Ireland v USA match last year, gets €15,000 assistance for his Challenge Tour campaign.
Team Ireland trust Grants
€20,000 -- Simon Thornton (Euro Tour); Martina Gillen (LET), Alison Walshe (LET); Tara Delaney (LET).
€15,000 -- Niall Kearney, Jonathan Caldwell, Gareth Shaw (All Challenge Tour), Rebecca Coakley, Hazel Kavanagh (both LET).
€10,000 -- Colm Moriarty, Michael McGeady (both Challenge Tour).
€7,000 -- Richard Kilpatrick (Alps Tour/Challenge Tour); Brian McElhinney, Peter O'Keeffe, Niall Turner, Paul O'Hanlon, Barrie Trainor (all Europro/Challenge Tour).