Saturday 21 April 2018

Lowry refusing to rest on laurels as he targets Ryder Cup berth

Shane Lowry chasing Ryder Cup points
Shane Lowry chasing Ryder Cup points
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Shane Lowry is eager to resume tournament golf and start his chase for Ryder Cup points.

Lowry, winner of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last month, is scheduled to return in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland from October 1-4.

His last outing was a missed cut by just a shot in the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in the second week of August, just days after his win at Firestone.

Since then, Lowry has relaxed and enjoyed the aftermath of the biggest win - and the biggest cheque at €1.35m - of his career.

Yesterday he conducted a clinic for Srixon at St Margaret's in North Dublin and spoke of his desire to claim a place in Darren Clarke's Ryder Cup team for 2016.

"It would be easy for me to play out the end of the year and sit back at Christmas and say 'I won a World Golf Championship' but that's not me," he said.

"That's not the person I want to be, that's not the player I want to be. I need to try and get it right between trying too hard to do well, and taking my foot off the gas.

"I've got seven tournaments and a big thing for me is going out there and trying to earn a good few Ryder Cup points. That's the main goal."

Victory in the WGC-Bridgestone opens up the USA for the Clara native, who expects to play at least 16 PGA Tour events next year.

If he qualifies for the FedEx Cup play-offs and has a good run in that lucrative finale to the season in the States, his total could reach 20, but Lowry will also make sure to make his required quota in Europe.

"I'm going to plan my schedule where I have enough time to come home for a week or two weeks. I'm not going to base myself over there," he said.

"I'm going to travel over and back. I'm going to do what Padraig (Harrington) does."

Harrington, Clarke, Paul McGinley, Damien McGrane, Kevin Phelan, Peter Lawrie and Simon Thornton all play in the Italian Open at Golf Club Milano today, as does Tour debutant Gavin Moynihan.

Moynihan ended his amateur career as a Walker Cup winner on Sunday evening and turned pro the next day.

Lowry welcomes Moynihan and the other Irish amateurs,including Paul Dunne and Gary Hurley, who have joined the paid ranks but warns them: "It will be tough."

"It's going to be hard and going into Italy this week is going to be a tough week for Gavin," he said.

"All I'd say to them is not change anything for a while and see how they get on.

"I think their main focus should be Tour school. Try and get their card through Tour School, get a Challenge Tour card even.

"A year on the Challenge Tour, even though I'm not really one to talk because I didn't have it, but I don't think it does anyone any harm."

Meanwhile Rory McIlroy returns to active service in the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois today.

McIlroy is one of 70 competitors left in the FedEx Cup play-offs, with the top 30 going through to the final at East Lake, Atlanta next week, with $10m on offer.

Italian Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 10.30am

BMW Championship

Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.0pm

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