Second makes Lowry €527,000 richer
‘But to hole the putt on the last and to finish second on my own is really nice. It’s given me a lot of world ranking points and a lot of Race to Dubai points’
Shane Lowry celebrates holing a birdie putt on the 18th green to earn second place on his own and a cheque for €527,000 at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
For a long time, as the drama unfolded on the West Course, it looked as if Shane Lowry had pulled the handle down on a one-arm bandit and that all the symbols would spin to form a perfect line that offered career-changing riches.
Ultimately, though, he was scooped by his friend Rory McIlroy.
And rather than claim the European Tour’s flagship tournament title and the bonus of exemptions into the US Open and British Open and a five-year exemption on tour, Lowry – edged out by a short head after a neck-and-neck race to the line that took no prisoners in its intensity – at least had the not inconsiderable consolation of dramatically rolling in a 50-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to claim the runner-up spot all on his own. Catapulted That putt was the 68th stroke of Lowry’s round, for a 13-under-par total of 275 that catapulted him from 165th in the Race to Dubai standings up to 15th and earned him his biggest ever payday – €527,770 – as a professional.
In one week’s work, he had secured his tour card for another season and, perhaps more importantly, reaffirmed his belief that he belongs on golf’s biggest stages competing with the game’s biggest names.
Having started out six shots adrift of 54-hole leader Thomas Bjorn, Lowry went about his task with a diligence that saw his eagle-birdie on the fourth and fifth holes combine with the Dane’s problems – he suffered a triple bogey seven on the sixth – to leave the Offaly man in a share of the lead as he walked up the hill on the seventh and caught a glance of the leaderboard.
By the time he left the 12th green, Lowry held a three- stroke advantage only for a double-bogey six on the 13th to bring him back to the field for what proved to be a fascinating run for home.
In the end, he came up just short of winning. By one shot.
“To be honest, I feel very unlucky. I felt like I hit some great shots coming in
“But to hole the putt on the last and to finish second on my own is really nice. It’s given me a lot of world ranking points and a lot of Race to Dubai points, as well.”
Still, the grin – rather than any grimace – shone across his bearded facial features. “At the end of the day, I was out there playing the biggest tournament on the European Tour leading by three with seven holes to play. Ahead of Rory McIlroy. Thomas Bjorn. Luke Donald. So, that’s the company I want to be in, that’s the company I feel I deserve to be in. And I’m looking forward to being there again.”
Lowry felt he had this performance in him. He was vindicated. Up to teeing up in the Spanish Open, he’d had three successive missed cuts.
A tied-15th in Catalunya, though, sent him here to Wentworth with renewed confidence.
Now, this runner-up finish was brought further momentum as he heads into today’s US Open international qualifying at Walton Heath and on to play in the Nordic Masters in Sweden.
It is all about keeping a level head. As he put it of the need to stay grounded, “If, all of a sudden, I go to Sweden and feel like I should be trying to win, it can jump up and bite you as well. After a good week like this, you just need to sit back and take the positives away. Same chance “At the end of the day you are standing on the first tee next Thursday and it is 150 guys and everyone has the same chance of winning again.
“This was very, very close to being my week and I would have loved to win this one. I’ve said it before, I really believe I can win this championship one day.
“I really love the place and I feel like it suits my game . . . . my season hasn’t been going great but I did fancy myself coming in here, I really, really did.
“And you know, I thought today was my day, but obviously not; hopefully next year!”