Lowry curses his luck after brave glory bid falls short in good company
Shane Lowry had €527,770 reasons to feel happy but it's a measure of the Clara favourite's lofty ambitions that second place at the BMW PGA, even to long-time friend Rory McIlroy, left a deep sense of frustration.
Lowry, 27, leapt a whopping 150 places up Europe's Order of Merit to 15th courtesy of his biggest cheque (by €152,770) as a professional, so his card is safe for next season after a disconcerting start to 2014 which saw him miss six cuts in his first eight tournaments.
He clinched outright second by holing-out sensationally from 50 feet for birdie on the 18th green and a closing 68. That solitary putt put a staggering €115,210 extra into Lowry's paypacket, though the thrill of seeing his ball disappear into the hole and the roar of the massive gallery was priceless!
Of even greater significance, however, is the composure Lowry showed on a heady final day in which he launched his hot pursuit of leader Thomas Bjorn by holing a 15-foot putt for a splendid eagle at four. He then closed his six-stroke deficit to the Dane at 10 by landing the first of a glorious hat-trick of birdies which, ultimately, propelled Lowry into a three-shot lead in Europe's biggest tournament through 12.
Even an unfortunate double-bogey at 13, where his drive landed in an unplayable lie in a gorse bush, was taken in his stride as Lowry rebounded with a classy birdie two at 14, where the pin was hidden behind the yawning right bunker.
Luck spurned Lowry once again at 15, where his "best iron shot of the year", a 5-iron from 225 yards, pitched just beyond the flag and bounded into bogey territory and then a sweetly-struck seven-foot putt for birdie at 17 drifted right of the cup in the final few inches.
"Obviously I'm happy," said Lowry. "But I know I'll be sitting in my hotel room tonight and 13 and 15 are going to be going through my mind. To be honest, I feel very unlucky."
Consolation comes, however, from the opposition he faced down yesterday and how calm, confident and assured Offaly's two-time Tour winner felt trading blows in this company.
"At the end of the day, I was out there leading the biggest tournament on the European Tour by three with seven to play, ahead of Rory McIlroy, Thomas Bjorn and Luke Donald. That's the company I want to be in; feel I deserve to be in and am looking forward to being there again.
"To be honest, I felt so comfortable out there, really comfortable." Now that's the biggest prize Lowry took home from Wentworth.