Sports

Missed opportunity as Lowry moves to within touching distance of Dubai

Thursday, 26 October 2017

UNDER normal circumstances, a 12th place finish would represent a fairly satisfactory tournament for Shane Lowry but there is little normal about his current circumstances as he hunts down a place in the European Tour's season ending World Tour Championship in Dubai on November 16.
When he occupied that position in the Andalucia Open at Spain's famed Valderamma last weekend, it was tinged with regret as the Clara man reflected on what might have been and a finish place that could have been considerably higher.
Despite that, he has moved to within touching distance of his short term goal of making Dubai, jumping from 65th to 61st place in the order of merit. The top sixty on the European Tour's money list qualify for Dubai and Lowry is now less than 200 euros behind the 60th place golfer, England's Matt Wallace - Lowry has earned 554,361 euros compared to 554,535 euros for Wallace.
With the Turkish Airlines Open on next week and the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa the following week (he hasn't qualified for this week's WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai), Lowry still has plenty of opportunity to make it but it is now very much a desperate race against time.
It has been a mixed season for the Offaly golfer, one in which he has been agonisingly close to his brilliant best, playing some sensational golf but struggling to achieve consistency, both from round to round and tournament to tournament.
He has been so close to the mark and could well turn his season around spectacularly - currently ranked 89th in the world, his other short term objective is to get back into the top fifty - but it just hasn't happened for him to date. Indeed, the past two weeks have been symptomatic of his season as he missed the cut in Italy while he played much better in Spain but could have finished a lot higher.
Lowry earned 30,300 euros in Spain but was left to curse back to back double bogeys on the 18th in Friday's and Saturday's second and third round - he also had a bogey there on Sunday. These five shots cost him a dear price - he finished the tournament on -1 but an extra five shots would have left him in fourth place and earning over 100,000 euros, which would have effectively sealed Dubai qualification. Even one extra shot would have put him in the qualifying zone and Lowry is now in the situation where every bogey and mistake is more costly than normal.
The nature of golf is that there will always be wayward shots, bogeys and ones that get away while there will be plenty of holes where you sink long range putts, have unlikely up and downs or get a favourable bounce. They can balance out a lot of the time but Lowry will not have been happy with those double bogeys on Friday and Saturday as they took the gloss off otherwise fine scores.
The tournament was won in fine style by the host, Sergio Garcia and Lowry got off to a solid start on Thursday with a one over 72, getting four bogeys and three birdies.
A -1 70 saw him comfortably inside the cut mark on Friday with his round including that double bogey on 18, six birdies and three bogeys. He played his best golf on Saturday with a -2 69, despite that six on the 18 - he had six birdies and two bogeys.
On Sunday, he gave a very brave performance as he went for it but finished with a one over 72, hitting three birdies and four bogeys as he finished tied for 12th place.

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