Sports

Lowry Continues Solid Start To Season With 16th Place Finish In Phoenix Open

Thursday, 9 February 2017

SHANE Lowry showed some encouraging early season form when he finished joint 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale last weekend.

Lowry ended up on -10, seven shots behind the winner, Hideki Matsuyama who edged out American Webb Simpson in a play off to retain his title and it would not have taken a lot more for him to have really contended.

With huge crowds creating a fantastic atmosphere at one of the US PGA Tour's most celebrated events, Lowry played some great golf and had his putter been hotter, he would have been right up there.

It has been a solid start to the season by Lowry, who finished tied 33rd at the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines the previous week - he earned $90,952 in Phoenix to add to the $35,398 he collected in San Diego.

On Thursday, he shot a -2 69 with four birdies and two bogeys and a -3 68 got him into the mix on Friday as he played some fine golf, getting four birdies and the only blemish was a bogey five on the 5th.

He played his best golf on Saturday with a -5 66 and he made an absolutely sensational start with birdies on his opening four holes. A further birdie on the eight put him on -5 for the day but a bogey five on the ninth disrupted his momentum.

He had a further bogey on the 11th before recovering with birdies on the 13th and 17th for a great round that left him within touching distance of the leaders, though he needed everything to go right on Sunday to really challenge.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen for him on Sunday and while he played solidly early on, he didn't get the run of birdies that he needed. After parring the first eight holes, he had a bogey five on the ninth and his dreams of success were over. On the back nine, he had three birdies and two bogeys (both on par threes) for a level par 71.

The Clara man will be working on improving his putting over the week, something he has acknowledged as being key to him fulfilling his potential. The US PGA Tour statistics back up the necessity of this:

He is ranked 11th in accuracy off the tee, 12th in tee to green, 20th in around the green and 49th in approaches to the green but is way back in 129th place in putting and that clearly shows where his major challenges are.

This week, Lowry heads to another of the US's most celebrated courses, Pebble Beach for the AT and T pro-am and he will then compete at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles before returning home for the birth of his first child.

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