Lowry surges to tied-second in Dubai with final round 63

Jon Rahm’s final round of 67 secures his second title of the European campaign

 Ireland’s Shane Lowry  on the 18th   during the final round of the DP World Tour Championship  in Dubai. Photograph:  Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Ireland’s Shane Lowry on the 18th during the final round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

 

In a long campaign on the road this year which has taken him to all corners of the globe, Shane Lowry reserved his best until last. The 30-year-old Offalyman’s quest for a tour victory this season fell tantalisingly short, but a final round of 63 for an 18-under-par aggregate total of 270 in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai saw Lowry finish in tied-second, just one shot adrift of champion Jon Rahm.

On a day of winners – Rahm’s final round 67 for 269 securing his second title of the European campaign to add to his Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, and Tommy Fleetwood narrowly fending off Justin Rose to claim the order of merit title – Lowry’s stunning final round, which featured 10 birdies and one bogey, enabled him to finish tied-second with Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Lowry’s efforts earned him a payday of €612,355 for his best finish of the season. Having shown strong form in recent weeks when he contended going into the final round, most notably in the Turkish Airlines Open a fortnight ago when he shared the 54-hole lead only to fall away, Lowry left his big move until the end on this latest occasion.

Lowry surged through the field in Dubai with a final round 63 – his lowest round on tour since 2011 – that saw him jump 14 places from his start position to share runner-up with Aphibarnrat and only usurped by Rahm, whose birdied on the 16th – his fifth of a bogey-free round – proved decisive for the Spaniard.

“That’s my sixth top 15 in my last eight starts. It’s been pretty good. It’s been great golf. I felt like with a putt here or there on Sundays it could have been a lot different. Even today I felt like I hit a great putt on 16 and 17 and thought I had both of them and they just missed.

But, yeah, I was happy to birdie the last. I feel like I’ve had it. My Sundays have been poor of late and a couple of my friends texted me before today and were saying I was due a good Sunday. There it is!” said Lowry.

Disappointing finish

For Paul Dunne, it proved to be a disappointing finish as the 24-year-old Greystones player finished with a 75 for 279 which dropped him to tied-25th. Dunne missed out on the bonus pool (which involved the top 10 on the order of merit) but the success of his season’s work is reflected in a final position of 16th (with earnings of almost €1.7 million) that also guarantees him a spot in next year’s British Open.

Rahm’s bogey-free 67 enabled him to claim a second European Tour title of the season, the crucial birdie coming on the 16th which moved him out of the logjam and put him alone on top of the leaderboard. A par-par finish saw him complete the job, as the other battle for the Race to Dubai standings became one that see-sawed between Fleetwood and Rose.

However, three late bogeys – on the 12th, 14th and 16th where he missed a short putt – ruined Rose’s quest for the money title, and instead, Fleetwood, despite struggling to a final round 74 for tied-21st, stayed ahead in that particular season-long race.

For Rahm, only 23 years of age and already touching superstar status, the victory was manufactured on near flawless driving and a short game which betrayed no nerves.

Having started the season with no status on the European Tour until taking out affiliate membership prior to the WGC championship in Mexico, the Spaniard finished as rookie of the year and a two-time Rolex Series winner.

His first came in the Irish Open at Portstewart in July and, this, his second was delivered in a different fashion: at one point he was three shots behind Rose heading into the homeward run.

“I was never too stressed. I never got ahead of myself. Kept my composure and kept playing,” said Rahm of his mindset.

Kept his cool

Rose struggled coming down the stretch, while Rahm – Lowry having set the clubhouse target – kept his cool to claim those three birdies coming in, with the 10-footer on the 16th proving critical.

“There’s sometimes when you believe things and you want things to happen but when you actually achieve them, winning the DP World Tour Championship, is one of them. It changes the whole perspective. It’s the last tournament of the year. There’s no more; there’s no next week. There’s 2018.

“To get it done the last week, you know, I don’t know if it shows anybody else or not, but it does prove to myself that I belong to be here. I belong to be on the European Tour and I belong to be on the PGA Tour.

“It’s a great week for me mentally in that sense. You know, hopefully, it reinforces my position to maybe be considered for the Ryder Cup next year.”

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