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Lowry forced to pull out but can still earn Masters ticket

SHANE LOWRY was "gutted" to miss this week's DP World Tour Championship in Dubai because of a nasty virus – but he still has two chances of making it into the world's top 50 before December 31 and landing a precious first invite to April's Masters.

The Clara man's season was scheduled to end on Sunday in Dubai. However, his Horizon management team had taken the precaution of entering him for the Nelson Mandela and Alfred Dunhill Championships in South Africa.

If he fully shakes off the mystery bug, Lowry (above) has the option of teeing it up in Durban on December 6 and at Leopard Creek seven days later in the two co-sanctioned events, which serve as the opening salvos on the European Tour's 2013 schedule.

His only concern now is getting better. "The way I feel, honestly, I couldn't even stand on the first tee, never mind play 18 holes," he said.

Lowry picked up a virus at the start of the week, becoming "very sick and dehydrated. I went to the hospital on Tuesday, where they put me on a drip. I felt okay after being discharged, but became sick again overnight."

Too ill to go to the course and strike the tee shot which would have earned him €19,371 for turning up, Lowry lost the opportunity to bump his winnings for a European Tour season above €1m for the first time.

Irish Independent