Thursday 23 January 2020

Harrington and Lowry team up to turn things around

Shane Lowry: ‘It’s a marathon’. Photo: Getty Images
Shane Lowry: ‘It’s a marathon’. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Jordan Spieth tees it up with Ryan Palmer in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans believing his final-round charge for the Masters could be the spark that sets his season alight.

While the Texan is keeping his fingers crossed that the closing 64 that left him third behind Patrick Reed at Augusta National was not a flash in the pan, Ireland's quartet of hopefuls at TPC Louisiana are simply waiting for the week when they finally string four solid rounds together.

"It very well could be a spark for a really solid year," said Spieth, who felt his 64 could have been a 59.

"I finally feel like I got the short game back on track in Houston and Augusta. And to hit some of those putts under pressure and see some go in, I think it will be very beneficial going forward this year.

"It very well could be a spark for a really solid year."

Shane Lowry partners Pádraig Harrington in a team event knowing that he must patiently wait for his game to click.

Like Harrington, he's had three weeks off since he recorded a season's best tie for 14th in the Houston Open and he knows there's no need to panic, even if he finds himself a lowly 174th in the FedEx Cup standings with Harrington 222nd after erratic starts to the year.


"You have to look at it as a bit of a marathon," Lowry told Newstalk recently.

"I am not the kind of golfer that's going to play consistently well every week.

"I have to wait for my moment in the year and then when it happens, I have to take full advantage."

Confessing that his short game has not quite been up to scratch this season, he insisted he is "definitely not panicking".

And after agreeing with Harrington on U2's 'Beautiful Day' as their walk-on music for what is a rare break from 72-hole medal play - teams play fourballs and foursomes on alternate days - both men are hoping for a change of fortune.

Masters champion Reed, meanwhile, returns to action alongside Patrick Cantlay with Graeme McDowell (124th in the FedEx Cup list) partnering Lake Nona neighbour Ian Poulter, and West Waterford's Seamus Power (129th) playing with 38-year-old Canadian journeyman David Hearn.

On the European Tour, Greystones' Paul Dunne is the only Irishman in action in the Volvo China Open where Frenchman Alexander Levy will be bidding to defend his title and win for the second week running.

Ranked a career-high 47th in the world following his win in the Trophée Hassan II, Levy is trying to play down inevitable Ryder Cup talk with Paris approaching.

"Nothing has changed with regard to the Ryder Cup," he said. "To say the Ryder Cup is my goal, of course it is because everyone dreams about this, but for me we have so many good players in Europe.

"Right now, I need to improve my game to be on this team and I just have to think of my own game and not think too much about the Ryder Cup."

On the Challenge Tour, Irish golf has a seven-strong presence in Antalya for the €200,000 Turkish Airlines Challenge.

Derry's Ruaidhri McGee was fourth behind England's Ryan Evans last year with Gavin Moynihan 25th in an event where the cut fell at an incredible five-under par.

Both are back again with the Dubliner keen to put a cheque in the bank after failing to make the cut in his last eight starts.

They are joined at Gloria Golf Club by West Waterford's Gary Hurley, Tullamore's Stuart Grehan, Galgorm Castle's Michael Hoey, Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin and PGA Europro Tour graduate Jonny Caldwell from Clandeboye, who famously partnered Rory McIlroy in the 2007 Walker Cup at Royal County Down.

With the top 15 on the Challenge Tour's Road to Ras Al Khaimah Rankings earning promotion to the European Tour at the end of the season, a win in Turkey is worth far more than the €32,000 winner's cheque.

  • Volvo China Open, Sky Sports, 7.30
  • Zurich Classic, Sky Sports, 1.0

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