Monday 23 October 2017

Lowry calls for date change after miserable May weather causes havoc

Ireland's Shane Lowry shelters under an umbrella during the Irish Open at The K Club. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Ireland's Shane Lowry shelters under an umbrella during the Irish Open at The K Club. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Shane Lowry has joined the chorus of home golfers who want to see the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open move from May to a mid-summer date.

Lowry, the best-finishing Irishman after winner Rory McIlroy, rounded off the rain-lashed tournament with a two under par 70 for a 287 (-1) total, and said: “We need to have it later.

“The golf course was amazing this week, and all credit to them for that, but I do think we need to have it later in the year.

“They are trying to get one near the Open. That would be ideal – July, and dates around the Open would be perfect. I’m sure you’d get a few extra players playing, as well. Hopefully, that would be the case.”

Lowry was certainly right about the excellent job done by K Club course superintendent Gerry Byrne and his staff.

The layout held up very well – despite the torrential downpours of rain and hailstones over the weekend, which caused long delays on Saturday and for lesser periods yesterday.

A date in June or early July would hopefully tip the odds in favour of better weather, but from a golf perspective, Lowry and his fellow professionals just had to get on with the job.

Next up is the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, and Lowry goes there with good confidence in his game.

“I’m looking forward to next  week. I’m looking forward to going over on Tuesday and getting around Wentworth again. It’s where my season kind of started the last two seasons,” he said.

The pride of Offaly marked himself out of ten for the various departments of the game: seven for driving; eight for short game; and around six for putting.

“My putting – I’m not happy with it, but I don’t feel uncomfortable over the ball.

“I feel I hit the hole a lot on Thursday, and if a few of those had gone in, I wouldn’t even be thinking about it.

“I’m giving myself chances. I’m hitting good shots most of the time. The big thing for me is I’m not hitting any disastrous shots,” he said.

Graeme McDowell found himself in the unaccustomed position of last finisher of the nine Irish players who made the cut, scoring 80 for an 11-over total.

“My struggles on the greens kind of just ran through my game a little bit,” he said. “Frustration kind of kicked in this week, and combo that with some wet conditions...

“Obviously, it’s the same for everyone, but I just didn’t deal with them very well, and I’m disappointed by my weekend’s performance.

“I came here feeling confident, and I’m trying my best to maintain that confidence going forward.”

Former Walker Cup trio Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan and Gary Hurley, all in their first year as Tour professionals, gained some hard-earned experience in their first Irish Open in the paid ranks.

Moynihan (70), and Kevin Phelan (71) finished tied 36th on one-over, earning €26,800 each.

Gary Hurley shot 78 and Paul Dunne 74 for tied 60 and a purse of €11,000 each.

Ryder Cup captains present and past, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, carded 72 and 75 respectively.

Clarke, playing alongside Lowry and Chris Wood, started from the 10th, and reeled off three birdies in four holes.

A double-bogey seven on the 16th halted his momentum. Nines of 36, 36 left him at two-over for the tournament.

McGinley finished at ten over par after a tough weekend.

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