Shane Lowry: ‘I hope this is the sign of things to come for the next few months’

Offaly man fell short at the US PGA Championship but not before firing a sensational third round of 62 on Saturday

Shane Lowry has a number of key destinations lined up in the coming weeks and months – think US Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina, The Open at Royal Troon, the Olympics in Paris, the Amgen Irish Open at Royal County Down – and you can see why he is excited for the summer and autumn ahead.

Indeed, Lowry’s performance at the US PGA, which had a show-stealing 62 in Saturday’s third round, where he ultimately finished tied-sixth behind Xander Schauffele, also strengthened his position in the FedEx Cup standings as he targets a first-ever appearance on the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship finale.

Lowry’s latest top-10 in a Major – his eighth – had the immediate impact of moving him from 16th to 10th in the FedEx Cup standings (the top 30 make it to the moneyfest in Atlanta) and also improved his world ranking, from 43rd to 33rd.

The sixth placed finish in Valhalla was Lowry’s fourth top-10 of the season so far on the PGA Tour, the highpoint so far coming in teaming up with Rory McIlroy for the win in the Zurich Classic, but that level of consistency has fueled Lowry’s ambition to claim at least another Major title to go with his Claret Jug success of 2019.

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As he admitted to RTÉ Radio’s Greg Allen following the final round of the US PGA, “I only want it so much because I know what it feels like and I want to taste it again. . . I’m excited for the summer. I [turned] 37 this year and when you turn 37 you feel like you’re getting on a little bit, [with] all these young lads coming our here and hitting the ball miles. They’re really good; some bit of doubt creeps in. But I’ve definitely showed myself this week and this year that I still have what it takes.”

Lowry added: “I always think I can do well when I come to tournaments like this, and to play my way into the week and to find my putting like I did, I hope this is the sign of things to come for the next few months.”

Certainly, Lowry’s third round 62 to join an elite club of players to have shot that low round in the Majors – along with Branden Grace (Open 2017), Rickie Fowler and Schauffele (US Open 2023) and Schauffele again (first round US PGA 2024) – provided a reminder to all, not least the player himself, that he has the ability to do great things when all elements, particularly his putting, come together.

Lowry is headed into a one week break before he is back for yet another hectic itinerary, starting with next week’s Canadian Open, then the Memorial (the Jack Nicklaus-hosted tournament which is a signature event on the PGA Tour), then the US Open at Pinehurst and, completing the stretch, the Travelers (another of the $20 million signature events).

Rory McIlroy has mapped out an identical schedule to that of Lowry, also taking a break from tournament play this week when the Charles Schwab in Fort Worth, Texas, is the PGA Tour stop. There are no Irish players in the field, with Séamus Power also opting to skip the event.

McIlroy has dropped to world number three in the latest rankings, leapfrogged by US PGA winner Schauffele. It is the first time since last June that the Northern Irishman hasn’t been in the world number two position.

Schauffele’s breakthrough Major win – much deserved as it was – saw the American moved to a career-best position in the world rankings and also add to a CV that already included an Olympic gold medal.

Yet, in moving to number two behind Scottie Scheffler, Schauffele also spoke of how far he has yet to go in that particular equation: “All of us are climbing this massive mountain. At the top of the mountain is Scottie Scheffler. I won this today, but I’m still not that close to Scottie Scheffler in the big scheme of things. I got one good hook up there in the mountain up on that cliff, and I’m still climbing. I might have a beer up there on that side of the hill there and enjoy this, but it’s not that hard to chase when someone is so far ahead of you.”

As far as finally getting his hands on a Major trophy, the Wannamaker, Schauffele was reminded of his close calls of the past: a runner-up at The Open in 2018; a runner-up at the Masters in 2019; six top-10s in seven appearances at the US Open (including a third place finish in 2019). Knocking on the door, time and time again, someone finally answered.

“It’s just noise,” he observed of having that unwanted tag of being the best-player-in-the-world-not-to-win-a-Major. Now gone. “That’s what I thought it was. Not that people saying it made me think that. I just felt like I’ve done enough work, I’m good enough to do it. I just need to shut my mind up and actually do it . . . I’ve felt like I’ve been on this sort of trending path for quite some time. I really had to stay patient and keep the self-belief up, and I was able to do both those things.”

Most likely, not for the only time.

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