Wednesday 17 January 2018

Lowry sets sights on a big summer despite finishing with horror bogey six

Shane Lowry. Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Shane Lowry. Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry was knocked for six at the last but insisted he's coming into form in the nick of time for a big summer run in Europe.

After brilliantly battling high winds all day to go the par-five 18th needing a birdie to break par, the Clara man topped his three-wood approach into the deep fescue and ran up a bogey six for a 73 that left him tied for 47th in the clubhouse on three-over par.

It wasn't the week the 30-year old had in mind, but he believes that an excellent putting performance in the final round, coupled with some improved form in the recent BMW PGA and the Memorial Tournament, bodes well for his trip to the $7m HNA Open de France next week and the upcoming links tests at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and The Open.

"I've a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, even though I'm playing for 35th or 40th or whatever it was," a disappointed Lowry said.

"To bogey the last is very disappointing because I really grinded hard today. It was so tough out there with strong winds and tough pin positions but I played great, holed out great, putted lovely, did everything well.

"All in all, I suppose it's a pretty decent week. It is just a bit disappointing to bogey the last, that was 10 minutes ago and I am still a bit annoyed."

Lowry finished two shots adrift of former world No 1 Jordan Spieth, whose 69 was his best score of the week by two shots but only enough to finish on one-over for the tournament. There were five birdies and two bogeys in a round that provided a timely reminder of the 23-year-old's class. "It was a fantastic round of golf, given what we were dealing with to start the day," Spieth said. "This wind is now light compared to the beginning of the day, but that's what you get for playing a poor first few rounds."

Lowry had birdied the first for the first time all week, rolling a nine-footer for his four before handing that shot straight back at the tricky second, three-putting from 15 feet.

With a southerly wind gusting to 25mph, he chipped and putted for pars at the third and fifth, the birdied the eighth from eight feet to get back to level.

A bogey at the ninth was no great drama as the treacherous par three was playing 172 yards to a back right pin position into a stiff right-to-left crosswind.

Lowry's nine-iron almost crowned the top tier before sliding into the swale and off the green and a bogey was inevitable when he failed to hold the green with his chip.

But after two hard-fought, two-putt pars at the 10th and 11th - he had to convert four-and-a-half-footers each time - he chipped dead from short of the par-three 13th to remain level for the day, then made an eight-footer for par at the 15th to go to the last level for the day.

Leaving the disappointment of the 18th aside, the 30-year-old was looking on the bright side after taking just 27 putts - his first sub-30 putting round all week.

Looking forward to the next two months, he said: "We all know Majors are different kettle of fish and it is tough golf.

"You play in the weekend of a Major and you know you are never too far away from a good week.

"I am playing nicely and I have got the French Open, the Irish Open and the Open coming up in the next month. Then obviously we have the (US) PGA after that.

"There's a big couple of months coming up and I feel like my game is in decent condition. I'm really looking forward to it"

Lowry now believes he has turned the corner - especially with regard to his putting - and feels he is ready to start pushing on again in his career.

"Since Augusta I have started holing a few putts. Even out there today I had some really tricky six-, seven-, eight-footers and I started to hole them," he said.

"Yesterday (Saturday), I probably didn't hole many at all but you will have days like that.

"I've definitely started to putt better and I think that's the main difference.

"I just need to keep it going. I've a week off and then I'm going to France and see what I can do there."

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