If Shane Lowry was looking for a PGA Championship lift, he brilliantly got it with a superb par save at the final hole for a top-10 finish at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis.
Lowry looked headed for a bogey at the 72nd hole when he found water left off the tee but for a stroke of brilliance, his 183-yard third shot to just 18 inches setting up a miraculous par.
His final round three-under par 67 for a nine-under par tally eventually earned him a share of sixth on the TPC Southwind course.
The day belonged to Justin Thomas whose weekend rounds of 66 and 65 dismantled the field by three strokes to earn the title.
“Yeah, it was a grind today,” said the champion. “You know, it was a place where I was 4 back, but I didn’t have too many people in front of me. I just kind of kept my head down, I tried not to look at leaderboards and really just played my own game.
“I tried to make as many birdies as I can if I got the ball in play off the tee. And I drove the ball probably as good as I ever have the first 13 holes. Not so great the last four holes and we got very, very lucky and fortunate on some of those breaks to capitalise. You know, that’s the kind of stuff I guess that happens when you win and I was just glad to stay patient, stay in the moment and not get ahead of myself to make sure we got the W.”
Lowry has waited a long COVID-19 affected 13 months since being handed the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush to this week when he will step onto the first tee at TPC Harding Park as the last-up Major winner.
And he will also now arrive in the ‘Golden Gate Bridge’ city buoyed after a brilliant closing day where he also grabbed three birdies in a superb bogey-free showing.
Lowry first holed a near 20-footer at the par-5 third hole and then a second birdie with a similar length putt at the par-3 eight hole before chipping to seven-feet at the par-5 16th also for birdie.
Lowry’s effort in Memphis is easily a best finish in the six events he’s contested since the June 11th return to competition in Texas.
Prior to this week, Lowry had finished a best of T39th at the inaugural Work Day Charity Open while he had missed the cut in three of the six events.
It’s also Lowry’s best finish either Stateside or on the European Tour since an 11th place in January’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Graeme McDowell is joining fellow Irish-born Major winners Rory McIlroy and Lowry in San Francisco after finishing his Memphis campaign in posting a one-under par 69 for a three-under tally.
GMac’s last round was a mix of four birdies but standing out like the proverbial dog’s left leg is a ninth hole double bogey ‘6’ when he joined a long list of those finding the water guarding the green at the ninth.
And after birdies at 13, 14 and 16, McDowell was handed a very unwelcome Memphis send-off ‘gift’ of an 18th hole bogey.
McDowell has not contested a PGA Championship since missing the cut in 2017.
Full scoring HERE