In-form Shane Lowry hopeful of strong performance in US Open
Clara man continues momentum with another top-10 finish in the Memorial
Shane Lowry plays his shot from the fourth tee during the final round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club on Sunday in Ohio. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Momentum is an all-important ingredient in a golfer’s psyche; and, for Shane Lowry, another top-10 finish in the Memorial – his third in his last four outings on the PGA Tour – has maintained positive vibes as he gears up for next week’s US Open at Torrey Pines in California.
Lowry’s upward trending is everywhere: he has moved from 44th to 40th in the updated world rankings; from 69th to 59th in the FedEx Cup standings; and, although remaining in 10th position on Europe’s Ryder Cup world points table, he has significantly closed the gap on ninth-placed Victor Perez.
In terms of statistical evidence of the health of his game, Lowry continues to rank well in the key driving stats on the PGA Tour – he is 37th in strokes gained off the tee (combining distance and accuracy) and 44th in approach play while ranking 19th in scrambling – with only putting (134th) providing any negativity, although that has improved in recent weeks.
“I’m excited,” said Lowry of looking ahead to next week’s challenge at Torrey Pines. As he did before the US PGA (where he finished tied-fourth), Lowry has opted to take a week off, rather than playing in the Palmetto Championship at Congaree in South Carolina, to keep his swing in synch. “I’m coming off a decent week at Kiawah [in the PGA] and here [at the Memorial] and so I’m excited to go out to Torrey Pines, a place that I really like.”
He continued: “Obviously it’s going to be a different course [to the Farmers Insurance Open, played in January] when we get there for the US Open, but I know the golf course quite well and it would be nice to be able to go there and relax myself into the week and hopefully get off to a good start and put up another good performance.”
Lowry’s form since missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill back in March has been consistently good, featuring four top-10s in the period (eighth at the Players, tied-ninth at the RBC Heritage, tied-fourth at the US PGA and tied-sixth at the Memorial).
Rory McIlroy, too, has opted to have a week off from tournament play as he gets ready for the US Open where he expects the Torrey Pines course to play rather differently than on his last visit there in January (when he finished tied-16th in the FIO).
“I don’t think they’re going to set up the golf course super differently in terms of fairway widths or anything like that. But the rough is going to be little thicker, the whole course is probably going to be a little firmer. And then they might mess around with some of the tee boxes, [the USGA] usually do. Like the Tour would never put the 14th hole there as a drivable par 4 but they might for a US Open,” said McIlroy.
No doubt, Lowry and McIlroy’s paths will cross in the coming days as they each use the facilities at the Bear’s Club near their homes in Florida to prepare for next week’s championship.
This week’s US PGA Tour stop is for the inaugural Palmetto Championship at Congaree where Pádraig Harrington and Séamus Power are both competing, while Leona Maguire – who hadn’t qualified for the US Women’s Open – returns to competition in the LPGA Mediheal Championship at Daly City in California where Stephanie Meadow is also competing.
Jonathan Caldwell is the sole Irish player competing in the Scandinavian Mixed Championship – a jointed venture between the European Tour and the Ladies European Tour – at Valdo Golf Club in Gothenburg, Sweden.
On the Challenge Tour, there is a five-strong Irish contingent competing in the Cadiz Challenge in Spain: Conor Purcell, Paul McBride, Tom McKibbin, Conor O’Rourke and Michael Hoey.