Thursday 17 January 2019

Lowry seeks another big showing with PGA card in doubt

Lowry: Topped qualifiers. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Lowry: Topped qualifiers. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry will have a spring in his step when he makes his debut in the $6.6 million (€5.6m) FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis after booking his place in the US Open.

The Clara man brilliantly topped the qualifiers for Shinnecock Hills at his sectional qualifier in Ohio last Monday.

But, while it was just the confidence boost he needed heading into the second Major of the season, he's got work to do to keep his PGA Tour card.

Ranked 164th in the FedEx Cup standings with his exemption for winning the 2015 WGC Bridgestone Invitational running out at the end of this season, he needs to start putting results on the board and move into the top 125.

It's also a big week for Seamus Power who is 129th and still hoping to get into next week's US Open as an alternate after missing out in an 11-man play-off for three US Open spots in Memphis on Monday.

World number two Dustin Johnson heads the field at TPC Southwind with reigning US Open champion Brooks Koepka, Swede Henrik Stenson and two-time event runner-up Phil Mickelson, who will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Shinnecock Hills.

Pádraig Harrington is also in action and after missing the cut in his last two appearances, he'll be hoping to improve on his tie for fourth in 2008.

On the European Tour, speed will be of the essence in the innovative Shot Clock Masters at Diamond Country Club in Austria, where Gavin Moynihan and Ruaidhri McGee are joined by 15-year-old Holywood amateur Tom McKibbin.

Each player will have 50 seconds for a first-to-play approach shot (including par-three tee shot), chip or putt and 40 seconds for a tee shot on a par-four or par-five, or second or third to play an approach shot, chip or putt.

A digital clock, mounted on a buggy and controlled by an iPad using a bespoke app, will travel with each group and will be accompanied by a referee who will determine when to start the clock for each shot.

Every time a player fails to hit his shot within the time limits, a one-shot penalty will be added to his score for that hole.

However, each player can call for a "time extension" up to twice in any one round, allowing a further 40 seconds over and above the above allowances to play the shot in question.

On the Challenge Tour, former Shamrock Rovers winger Stephen Grant tees it up in the KPMG Trophy at L'Empereur Golf & Country Club in Brussels alongside Stuart Grehan, Neil O'Briain, Dermot McElroy, Jonathan Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin.

  • Shot Clock Masters, Sky Sports, 9.30
  • FedEx St Jude Classic, Sky Sports, 9.0pm

Irish Independent

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