Wednesday 18 September 2019

Improving Lowry seeking Turkish delight

Shane Lowry during yesterday’s pro-am ahead of the Turkish Airlines Open. Photo: Getty
Shane Lowry during yesterday’s pro-am ahead of the Turkish Airlines Open. Photo: Getty

Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry can't help but look ahead and see light at the end of the tunnel as he seeks his first win for more than three years in the Turkish Airlines Open this week.

While Paul Dunne is happy to wait and see what surprises the game brings him at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort, and Pádraig Harrington wonders if his recent erratic putting will improve enough to help him clinch an overdue win, Lowry dares to dream big.

With his fortunes on an upward curve since The Open and buoyed by his runner-up finish to Sergio Garcia in the Andalucia Valderrama Masters two weeks ago, he tees it up with his confidence on the rise.

"The goal is still the same, next March to try and be in the top 50 in the world," said Lowry, who is 71st right now and 42nd in the Race to Dubai knowing that the top 30 on the final money list will qualify for The Open at Royal Portrush.

"I like these next three weeks and I feel I can move further up the standings as my golf is good and my confidence is high. I just need to go out there and do the business."

While the loss of his full PGA Tour card has left him unsure about his early 2019 schedule - he may play in Abu Dhabi and Dubai before looking at what events he could play in the US - ticking Portrush off his wish list is one goal he knows is within reach.

"I did that last year," he said.

"I had a good week to make sure I was in the top 30 and that's a big thing when you finish the year, and you know you are in The Open."

Loathe

While he's loathe to say his game is close, he senses big things could be just around the corner after clinching his first top-10 for 10 months in Portugal and then finishing second at Valderrama.

"Sometimes as you are going through the year, you feel like you are not going to shoot good scores," said Lowry, who plays next week's Nedbank Golf Challenge.

"You can get down on yourself and the game can get down on you, it just shows me that there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Lowry co-led going into the final round here last year, playing in the final group with Harrington.

A closing 72 saw him slip to eighth behind Justin Rose as Harrington finished fourth. But his sharp iron play and solid putting in recent weeks have given him reasons to be cheerful.

Iron play was a struggle all summer for Dunne, who has fallen from 68th in the world - after his runner-up finish in the Spanish Open in April - to 105th this week.

"I played my best golf ever, I think, April-May time," Dunne said of his hot streak in the spring.

"I played really solid for six weeks in a row which I had never done before, which was nice."

As Dunne, Lowry and Harrington seek gold in Turkey, Séamus Power and Graeme McDowell will be hoping to hit the jackpot in the PGA Tour's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, 21st-ranked Michael Hoey opened with a three-over 75 in the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final and lies nine strokes behind Spain's Adri Arnaus and Swede Niclas Lemke.

Turkish Airlines Open, Live
Sky Sports, 9.0

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Live
Sky Sports, 8.30pm

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