Shane Lowry targets top spot again as he tees up in Rome

British Open has knocked off top spot after Jon Rahm’s win in Spain

British Open champion Shane Lowry has switched his focus from parental responsibilities to trying to reclaim top spot in the Race to Dubai at the Italian Open.

Lowry first headed the money list after his victory in Abu Dhabi in January and moved back out in front after claiming his maiden Major title in brilliant fashion at Royal Portrush in July.

Jon Rahm’s second win of the season in the Mutuactivos Open de Espana on Sunday took him above Lowry in the standings, but the Ryder Cup star will not play again on the European Tour until the season-ending event in Dubai.

In contrast, Lowry is part of a strong field at Olgiata Golf Club in Rome for this week’s lucrative Rolex Series event and is also scheduled the play the WGC-HSBC Champions in China and either the Turkish Airlines Open or Nedbank Golf Challenge before Dubai.


“It’s probably going to come down to the last couple of events,” Lowry told a pre-tournament press conference. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing all year.

“Do I keep an eye on it? I actually watched a little bit of the golf on Sunday but, before that, I didn’t watch any of it because I just didn’t have time the rest of the week.

“My wife Wendy was away so I was on daddy daycare for a week, I was looking after Iris. I had a couple of things on late in the week that I had to do and did a little bit of practice but didn’t get that much done.

“I’m out here this week now and, thankfully, I played on Tuesday and I felt okay. Hopefully I can get out there this week and shoot some good scores and give myself a chance at the weekend.

“It’s very exciting that I’m there and I’m looking forward to the challenge of trying to win the Race to Dubai.

“I want to keep trying to pick up some Ryder Cup points and keep challenging myself every day to shoot the best scores I can, keep playing my golf, keep doing what I’ve been doing all year and win the Race to Dubai.

“That would kind of top off what has already been an incredible year.”

Francesco Molinari won the Race to Dubai last year after also winning the British Open and Lowry will partner the Italian Ryder Cup star and England's Matt Wallace in the opening two rounds.

Paul Dunne, Graeme McDowell and Ryder Cup captain Pádriag Harrington are also in action in Italy.

Ian Poulter is also in the field after deciding against defending his Houston Open title on the PGA Tour instead.

Poulter won in Houston last April to seal a last-gasp entry into the Masters but the tournament has been a casualty of the rejigged schedule, attracting just two of the world's top 50 – Henrik Stenson and Keegan Bradley – and 10 players inside the top 100.