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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lowry hopeful of teeing up at Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

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Shane Lowry has boosted interest in next month’s rescheduled Dubai Duty Free Irish Open with the real likelihood of the reigning Open Champion teeing-up at the Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort in Ballymena.

Lowry intends to remain Stateside up to and including the September 17th to 20th U.S. Open and then return home to Ireland hopefully, for the European Tour and sponsors Dubai Duty Free, to tee-up in the following week’s Irish Open.

Lowry spoke of his plans to return home, in what will be a first visit since early February, soon after securing a place in this week’s Northern Trust tournament outside of Boston.

The event is the first of a three-event FedEX Cup ‘Play-Off Series’ with Lowry muscling his way into the field by ending the ‘regular’ season 122nd on the money list and just three places inside the qualifying criteria. This was after moving up nine places on the Tour’s money list standings thanks to his share of 23rd place in Sunday’s concluding Wyndham Championship.

Though Lowry’s only concern in returning home is an upsurge in new COVID-19 cases in Ireland and with the Taoiseach, Micheal Martin expressing ‘deep concern’ when reporting 200 new cases on Saturday, the highest daily rise since the start of May, and also a further 66 cases on Sunday.

The European Tour announced last week the rescheduling of Ireland’s premier event from Mt. Juliet to Galgorm, where all those teeing-up in the event can all be accommodated and stay within ‘the bubble’.

“My plan is to play the Irish Open, but we’ll see what happens,” said Lowry.

“My plan is actually to go back to Ireland that week anyway after the U.S. Open.

“There’s been quite a few cases over the last few days in Ireland. So, look, I don’t want to make any decisions, was is it, six weeks out? I’ll make them over the next couple weeks.”

Lowry brilliantly burst onto the international golfing stage while still an amateur in capturing the 2009 Irish Open at Baltray and the Clara golfer has very proudly contested every Irish Open since with a best finish of T5th at Carton House in 2013.

However, he revealed he has never played the Galgorm course located around a 30-minute drive from Belfast.

“I’ve never been there but then I’ve heard it’s nice, heard it’s a lovely hotel and good golf course, so yeah,” he said.

“We’ll be in the European Tour bubble, that’s a bit tighter than this one over here.”

And speaking of trips, Lowry had a journey planned of another kind had he not qualified for the PGA Tour ‘Play-Offs’ and that was spending time with friends at Rhode Island, just a short drive from this week’s TPC Boston host venue.

“If I did not qualify for the Northern Trust, I was planning to spend the week with them but I may go over there anyway,” he said.

“It’s not far from where we are this week.  I’m now playing Boston this week and if I don’t get in Chicago next week for the BMW Championship, I’ll stay on in Rhode Island. I won’t have to go too far.

“We will play a lot of golf, yeah. I don’t know the golf courses up there but wherever they’ll let us out. Any golf course up there, they’re more than welcome to let us out.”

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