Shane Lowry picks himself up and battles back for tied-fifth finish
Lowry returns with renewed focus for the final round
Shane Lowry during the final round of the Irish Open at Carton House. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The kid has evolved into a man. He’s proven it, for sure. Shane Lowry carried the heavy burden of expectation into the weekend – playing on his own doorstep and without assistance from any of Ireland’s four Major champions – and, if Saturday’s third round left him battered and bruised, he picked himself up off the floor yesterday to show his resolve.
If that breakthrough win as an amateur at Baltray in 2009 was career-changing, and his success in last year’s Portugal Masters a confirmation of his progress and ability, then Lowry’s performance here was just as defining. A final round 69 for 280, eight-under-par, gave a tied-fifth finish and further proof of his well-being going into the meat of the season.
On Saturday, he seemed dispirited. Yesterday, he was upbeat. Pumped even. “I got in my own way (on Saturday),” confessed Lowry, who went back to his house on the other side of the river Rye and moaned about the unfairness of the game with his houseguests Graeme Storm and Oliver Fisher who had also endured miserable times. “It’s hard to put your finger on what you learn from days (like Saturday) but, when I’m in that position again, I’m sure I’ll handle myself better than I did.”
The damage inflicted on Saturday, when he shot a 74, effectively ended his aspirations for the title. To his credit, Lowry returned with renewed focus for the final round. From the time he walked onto the range and was greeted by a roar of support from those spectators gathered behind the barriers, he walked with a pep in his step. On every tee box and every green, the roars seemed to grow ever louder. On the 12th, he almost had a hole-in-one. How would that have changed things? As it happened, the ball struck the flag, hit the hole and came to land inches away.
In all, Lowry had five birdies and two bogeys – on the home stretch, at the 14th where a wayward approach finished in rough, and the 17th where his tee-shot finished over the back of the green – but, when he rolled in a 12-footer for birdie on the 18th, it was met with a raised putter to the skies and to the crowds in the grandstand.
“I have a week off now just to chill out. It’s been a long, stressful week this week, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, then I’ve got The Scottish Open, British Open and I’ll have a week off afterwards and I’ll play the Bridgestone Invitational, (US) PGA. So I’ll have a very exciting schedule coming up. My golf feels good, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Why wouldn’t he be? The lessons from Carton House will stand him in good stead.