Séamus Power makes progress despite faltering finish in California

Waterford golfer moves up two places to 47th in world ranking

A measure of Séamus Power's onwards and upwards elevation on the PGA Tour is that the Waterford man's tied-14th finish in the American Express tournament, won by Hudson Swafford, was viewed as disappointing having gone into the final round just two strokes adrift of 54-hole leader Lee Hodges.

The reality check is that Power's finish nevertheless brought reward on a number of fronts: he moved to a career high 47th in the updated world rankings; to 12th (from 14th) on the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup rankings, and added $119,700 (€105,000) to his season's earnings.

Power is taking a break from tournament golf this week, missing the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines which has a Wednesday start and Saturday finish to avoid any clash with Sunday's two American football championship games, but he remains very much on course to claim a debut appearance in the US Masters at Augusta National in April as well as the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March.

A dreadful start to his final round – hitting his tee shot out-of-bounds on the first hole, leading to a double bogey – effectively scuppered ambitions for a second career PGA Tour win – having made his breakthrough at last year's Barbasol Championship – but he can look forward to a busy schedule ahead.


Power is expected to return to competition at next week's Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where Corkman John Murphy will also be playing after receiving a sponsor's invitation.

Shane Lowry, meanwhile, has slipped two spots behind Power in the updated world rankings. Lowry, down to 49th, suffered a disappointing final round of his own on Sunday – a triple-bogey start proving costly – in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship but remains in the UAE for this week's Dubai Desert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.

Lowry is one of four Irish players in the field in Dubai, where he is joined by Rory McIlroy, Pádraig Harrington and Jonathan Caldwell.

McIlroy moved from the cut mark in Abu Dhabi to ultimately finish alongside Lowry in tied-12th but headed on to the tour stop in Dubai – another Rolex Series event – aware of some “little kinks” to work on with his equipment.

McIlroy put a new three-iron in his bag recently and also felt his three-wood had “a bit of left in it” – highlighted by a duck-hook approach into water on the 18th hole of the final round – which gave him work do this week. On a positive take, McIlroy added: “I thought the driver was good, and irons were pretty good for the most part.”

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times