The week might be dominated by a Ryder Cup narrative at Wentworth but after firing a second round 66, Shane Lowry has two eyes on a BMW PGA Championship victory march that would solve all his problems ahead of Whistling Straits.
The Clara man currently occupies the ninth and last automatic spot onto Padraig Harrington’s team but remains up against it with a raft of permutations in play this week at the European Tour’s flagship event. Lowry can only focus on his part in the play and he refused to fluff his lines on Friday, delivering a near exemplary performance with seven birdies and just one dropped shot in his six-under 66.
“Yeah, it’s good, isn’t it. Coming here with a little bit of pressure on me needing to perform and play well and I’ve done that the first two days,” Lowry said, who had moved to within three strokes of Laurie Canter’s 11-under par lead midway through round two.
“I’m pretty happy to be honest. Yesterday I came off the golf course feeling like I probably should have shot better than 2-under. I know 66 is pretty good around here but I probably could have shot a couple lower, but 6-under into the weekend, under the circumstances, yeah, pretty happy with that.”
Far from feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of Whistling Straits, Lowry has been able to compartmentalise his season-long goal of making the Ryder Cup team and instead remain fully focussed on victory this week in Surrey; a career-first that would give way to another and guarantee his place on Captain Harrington’s team.
“I’m trying to focus on my own game,” Lowry said. “I’m pretty happy with what I’ve shown. Obviously I want to make the team automatically. I think I’ve played some really good golf over the last few months to put my hat in for a pick on Sunday evening if I do need one. But I’m here to win the golf tournament.
“Obviously I’m here to make The Ryder Cup Team as well but I really feel like this course, it doesn’t owe me anything because I’ve had some great results around here but I’d love to win this tournament because it’s just so big. It’s our biggest event in Europe. I’ve been close a few times and it would be great to be standing on that 18th green on Sunday with that trophy.”
As things stand, with Lee Westwood tied 28th at the time of writing, and Bernd Wiesberger outside the top-50, Europe’s automatic nine remains unmoved. All that could change over a volatile upcoming weekend in Wentworth but through 36-holes, Lowry has done all he can, knowing that a bolter from the selection pack leapfrogging him isn’t beyond the realms of possibility given the bumper points on offer this week in England.
“There’s a lot of points available,” Lowry agrees. “There’s almost too many points available, especially for someone like me who is in the team. Yeah, look, it is what it is. We’ve known it for the last few years now or a couple years. We’ve known that this is going to be the last counting event and there’s obviously going to be a lot of points available.
“Yeah, look, I’m just out there to do a job. I’m out there to try to win the tournament and play as best I can and come Sunday evening hope I’m on the team automatically. If I’m not, I hope I get a pick. That’s the way I am.
“I feel quite good about it. I feel pretty laid back about it. I’m not anxious about the whole thing. I feel like I’ve played really well over the last while and consistently well, and I feel like I’ve put my hand up. It’s up to Paddy what he wants to do Sunday evening.”
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