Groundhog Day for Shane Lowry after yet another near miss

McDowell and Power team up for matchplay; Meadow and Maguire in action in California

If there would seem to be something of a Groundhog Day scenario about Shane Lowry's bid to get over the line again and win a tournament, there remained many positives for the Offalyman after his latest close call in the RBC Heritage Classic at Hilton Head.

Just as he had knocked on the door at the Honda Classic in late-February (finishing runner-up) and at the Masters a week ago (tied-third), Lowry again finished in tied-third at Harbour Town in continuing a strong streak of form which has seen him move to 27th in the updated world rankings and, with an early eye to the end of season playoffs and the Tour Championship, also to 27th on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings.

Lowry's bid for a first title since the 2019 British Open was effectively undone by a costly double-bogey five on the 14th coming in, which led to him relinquishing the lead and failing to find a birdie on any of the final three holes to at least get into a play-off, as he signed off with a 69 for 272, a shot outside of the magic number. Jordan Spieth defeated Patrick Cantlay at the first hole of sudden death.

For Lowry, though, the disappointment of failing to get over the line should be tempered by the fact that, time and time again of late, he has put himself in the mix on a Sunday at the business part of the leaderboard and his latest cheque - for €305,000 - has brought his prizemoney on the PGA Tour this season to €2.5 million.

Lowry at least has some company this week in aiming to find winning ways again. Lowry teams up with another European Ryder Cupper Ian Poulter in the Zurich Classic in Louisiana, the only team event on the PGA Tour.

The unique team format sees players play better-ball fourball on Thursday and Saturday and foursomes on Friday and Sunday, in a tournament where Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith are the defending champions.

Séamus Power also resumes tournament play in Louisiana where he will form a first-time team partnership with Graeme McDowell.

The ISPS Handa Championship of Spain in Tarragona marks the resumption of the DP World Tour, with three Irish players - Niall Kearney, Jonny Caldwell and Cormac Sharvin - in the field.

On the LPGA Tour, Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire are both in the field for the DIO Implant Los Angeles Open at Wilshire Country Club, the first of back-to-back tournaments in California with the Palos Verdes Championship taking place next week.

Meadow endured a difficult closing round to the Lotte Championship in Hawaii (a 77, which featured two double bogeys in the opening six holes to turn in 42 before getting back in the swing with a bogey-free 35 on the way home) but her progress in recent weeks - 10th-35th-18th - has seen her move up to 45th (from 52nd) on the LPGA Tour’s Race to CME Globe order of merit standings.

Maguire remains inside the top-10 on those standings - slipping from eighth to ninth, with Lotte winner Hyo Joo Kim moving from 26th to seventh - and is playing both back-to-back tournaments in California.

Olivia Mehaffey, meanwhile, continues her run of tournaments on the European Ladies Tour with the Northern Irishwoman in the field for the Australian Women’s Classic in Bonville.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times

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