SHANE LOWRY WAS agonisingly close to securing his first tournament win of the season, at the Dunhill Links Championship, but late bogeys derailed his challenge.
Starting the final round just two shots off the lead, the Offaly native picked up six shots over the opening 11 holes and was pumped up after chipping in for eagle on 10.
Lowry could not raise his game again over the closing seven holes and bogeys on 13 and 15 saw him finish one shot back from Peter Uihlein and David Howell [both finished on -23]. Englishman Howell held his nerve in the playoff to take home a cheque for just under €580,000 and his first European title in seven years.
Speaking after signing for a closing round of 68, Lowry commented, “I managed to get the putter going this week and shot some great scores… you can’t really beat yourself up about [missing out]. It has still been a good week and I’ll get some good Race to dubai points and world ranking points.”
He declared, “I was flying after [the eagle on] 10. I didn’t hit a good chip shot but it hit the flag and went in. When you hit shots like that, you start to think ‘Maybe this is going to be my day’. The holes [coming] in were playing hard and it would have been tough to play them in par. A sloppy bogey on 15 was the costly one but you can’t complain really.” Lowry added:
I’ve shot four rounds in the 60s at Carnoustie. My golf is as good as it has ever been and if I keep doing what I’m doing, and doing the right things, I can’t see a win being too far around around the corner.”
Next up for Lowry is the Portugal Open and the defence of a tournament he won last year.
Darren Clarke finished joint 12th on -18 while Paul McGinley was tied 20th on -16. Michael Hoey [-14] was placed 26th while Padraig Harrington, five shots further back, finished up in a tie for 40th. The Dubliner closed out with a round of 71 but will be happy with rounds of 66 and 64 over the weekend.