Monday 23 September 2019

Lowry's focus on making Ryder Cup team

Open champion Shane Lowry gets back into the swing of things next week. Photo: Sportsfile
Open champion Shane Lowry gets back into the swing of things next week. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Open champion Shane Lowry could have new clubs in the bag when he makes his first appearance of 2020 in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

All the Clara man's commercial deals are up for renewal and his club and ball sponsor Srixon-Cleveland face a tough fight to keep him on their books.

Lowry, whose deal with Bank of Ireland also expires on December 31, will make his 2020 debut in Kapalua from January 2-5.

The Race to Dubai leader returns to action for next week's BMW PGA at Wentworth and the start of the Ryder Cup qualifying campaign.

Making Pádraig Harrington's European Ryder Cup team will be Lowry's main focus for the next 12 months and that makes him an unlikely host for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, which is still seeking a front man for 2020.

In the KLM Open, Gavin Moynihan shot a two-under 70 and Harrington and Paul Dunne a brace of adventurous 71s to lead the Irish challenge at The International in Amsterdam.

Moynihan is four behind England's Callum Shinkwin, who shot a six-under 66 to lead by one from seven players as Michael Hoey carded a 75.

On the Challenge Tour, Derry's Ruaidhri McGee fired a four-under 68 to lie joint fourth, just two shots behind Henric Sturehed in the Open de Portugal. West Waterford's Gary Hurley was 11th after an encouraging 69 with Cormac Sharvin and Paul McBride 17th after 70s as Robin Dawson struggled to a 79.

On the PGA Tour, Seamus Power made a positive start to the new season when he birdied two of his last three holes to open with a two-under 68 in the Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.

The West Waterford man holed a bunker shot at the 16th and then got up and down from sand at the par-five 17th for his fourth birdie of the day.

Leader

He was joint 35th behind clubhouse leader Robbie Shelton, who fired nine birdies in an eight-under 62 to lead by a shot from Scott Harrington.

In amateur golf, Ireland's slim hopes of challenging for the Home International Matches evaporated when they fell 10-5 to defending champions England at Lahinch.

Amateur champion James Sugrue was unable to tee it up and will play no further part in the matches as he takes three weeks off to recover.

Scotland beat Wales 9.5-5.5 and now take on England for the Raymond Trophy as Ireland face Wales for third.

"I don't know what's gone wrong," said Galway's Ronan Mullarney. "I think missing Sugrue is a big, big loss. He's one of the best amateurs in the world, never mind Ireland."

After defeat to Scotland on day one, Ireland needed to get off to a fast start but trailed 4-1 at lunch with Caolan Rafferty and Tiarnan McLarnon edging out Jake Burnage and Ben Jones 2&1 for Ireland's only success in the weather-hit foursomes.

They fought back in the singles with early wins for Conor Purcell over Tom Sloman (3&2), Rafferty over Tom Plumb (2&1) and Seán Flanagan over Ben Hutchinson (5&4). But while Mullarney and Colm Campbell halved their matches, defeats for Keith Egan to Callum Farr (2&1), Robert Brazill to Jake Burnage (3&2), Matthew McClean (5&4) to Ben Jones, Tiarnan McLarnon (2&1) to Ben Schmidt and Tom McKibbin to Matty Lamb (1 hole) sealed their fate.

  • KLM Open, Live, Sky Sports, 10.30am
  • A Military Tribute at Greenbrier, Live, Sky Sports Golf, 7.0pm

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