Shane Lowry has a bullseye on his back, but he believes he will fight off all comers for his Ryder Cup spot and dreams of following in Leona Maguire’s rookie footsteps with a stellar performance at Whistling Straits.
The Clara man tees it up in his 12th BMW PGA Championship sitting in what skipper Pádraig Harrington described as “the hot seat” at ninth in the standings and in danger of being overtaken by a host of players.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger needs to only finish 50th to overtake Rory McIlroy in the European Points list and push the Holywood star into the World Points List, potentially knocking Lowry out of the side.
With Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose (if he fails to win) among those needing a wildcard, Lowry is vulnerable.
But Lowry insists he is looking to move up the list at an event where he traditionally plays well and feels confident he has done enough to warrant a wildcard.
“There are probably a few people gunning for me this week, but I’m in a great position,” Lowry said. “If there’s a week that I’m coming to try and perform, Wentworth is one of the places I like to play.
“So, hopefully, I can go out and perform well this week. Obviously, I’ll have a close eye on it all week. There’s a lot of guys that have a chance this week. I’m one of them. I think I have put my hand up pretty well, but who knows what Pádraig is going to do Sunday evening with the picks.
“If someone passes me out and I am looking for a pick Sunday evening, I hope I am one of those on the list, and I think I just need to go out and show what I am made of.
“There are a lot (of permutations). There are a lot of points available here and players who can make the team this week. Bernd needs only an average week, and he should make it, but for me, I am trying to pass the guys in front of me. So if I can go out and perform the way I know I can, I should be OK.
“I think I have played good enough golf over the last six months to warrant a pick, but who knows what they are going to think. It is going to be interesting to see what Paddy does on Sunday evening.
“I think I am a strong candidate, but you don’t know what they are thinking on pairings or who will match up with who, so I have got to keep doing my own thing,”
He appears totally relaxed and in good spirits following the arrival of baby Ivy last week.
“I actually still can’t believe I have two kids,” he said. “It’s mad, but it’s great. Obviously, the main thing is both of them, Wendy and Ivy, are happy and healthy. Tough leaving them this week and being here, but I have a job to do.”
He’s also thrilled The Open has been confirmed for Royal Portrush for 2025, adding: “Yeah, it’s great it’s going back quickly. Obviously, in my very biased opinion, it’s one of the best Opens I’ve ever played in.
“But no, without taking the win out of it and all that, I think anybody you talked to, the American players and the other players that played, they really enjoyed the venue and thought it was one of the great Opens that they played.
“It’s great to be going back there in 2025. Look forward to it. Don’t have to worry about being in it or not. I’ll be there.”
He’s been dreaming of making the side for Whistling Straits since he won The Open and after watching Maguire’s performance in Ohio, he’d love to make a similar impact as a rookie.
“I obviously need to go ahead and make the team first this weekend, but when it comes to it next week, I want to go and have as big an impact as I can.
“I want to go and win points if I’m there and do all that type of stuff,” he added.
“Leona literally had the dream week last week. Didn’t she? She won the Solheim Cup for Europe last week, and I’d give anything to have the opportunity to go and do that in a couple weeks.”
On the Challenge Tour, newly-crowned West of Ireland Amateur champion Hugh Foley will make his tour debut as an amateur in the Big Green Egg German Challenge alongside Paul McBride, James Sugrue, Jonathan Yates and Gary Hurley.
Live, Sky Sports, 8.30