Lowry buoyed by Valspar finish as he heads to Dell Match Play

Bernie McGuire
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Lowry buoyed by Valspar finish as he heads to Dell Match Play

Shane Lowry (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

In-form Shane Lowry was headed home back home to Florida for one night before jetting out later tomorrow afternoon (US time Monday) very much looking forward to Wednesday’s commencing WGC – Dell Technologies Match-Play championship in Austin, Texas.

Lowry has had just two nights at home this past two weeks and despite being away from his wife and pair of young daughters, he’s very much in-form in producing a pair of two superb finishes.

The Clara golfer shared 13th place at last fortnight’s Players Championship and now has ended with a share of 12th in the Valspar Championship just north of Tampa on the Florida west coast.

American Sam Burns became the second straight back-to-back winner of the event, winning with a birdie at the second extra play-off hole after he and fellow 25-year-old, and Tour rookie, Davis Riley ended regulation tied at 17-under-par.  Burns had bogeyed the 17th in regulation play for a score of 69 while Riley, contesting his 25th event, tripled the par-5 fifth hole in an eventual one-over 72.

Both players pared the first extra hole, the par-4 18th before heading to the second extra hole at the par-4 16th where the Louisiana-born Burns holed a long putt for birdie, with Riley posting a regulation par.

“We tried to be steady out there as it was difficult out there, given the wind”, Burns said.

“All I have tried to do is continue to work hard on my game and improve, and I feel very honoured to win the Valspar for a second year running”.

Justin Thomas finished with four agonizing closing pars in a round of 70 and tied in third place with Matthew NeSmith, who signed for an even-par 71, and both finished at 16-under.

Lowry made it four rounds in the 60s, posting a third straight score of 68 for an 11-under-par tally on the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort.

“It’s been pretty good but it’s also been a frustrating week this week, especially when I am looking at 16 under leading out there now,” said Lowry after finishing his round.

“I feel like I could’ve been a lot better but my game is in great shape and we’ve got a great stretch of tournaments coming up so I’m really excited for the next run of events”.

Lowry, again dressed in all-black apart from his white shoes, got his final Florida round off on a positive birdieing the first hole for a third time in four days, and on this attempt finding the green and two-putting from some 42-feet for a birdie ‘4’.

In contrast, he then birdied the par-5 fifth hole for just the first time in two-putting from the back left edge of the green for his birdie ‘4’.

Lowry then moved to three-under for his round, and into double-under par figures for the tournament, in holing a 13-foot left of the flag at the par-4 sixth.

He missed the green at the par-3 eighth hole in taking a bogey, a score he also recorded on day one, and headed to the turn at two-under.

Lowry frustratingly stalled then, posting a string of four inward half pars before he birdied the par-5 14th, where he was just shy of the green but then chipped superbly to three-foot for a birdie ‘4’.

As Lowry headed the ‘Snake Pit’, the closing three holes on the Copperhead Course, he was nine-under for the 16 par-5s over his four rounds. He could also be pleased ending his round after avoiding any snake bite and parred the closing three holes to be even par over the four rounds playing 16, 17, and 18.

Lowry made his way to clear out his locker then sharing 12th place and vastly improved on his share of 49th on his 2018 debut in the Florida event, and unlike three years ago, when he broke par only on day four, he was under-par all four days this year after earlier scores of 69, 68 and 68.

“It’s good going to the match-play in good form but it’s a quick turnaround, and  I feel like I have had no days off the last few weeks”, he said.

“It’s been busy with The Players going into Monday and stuff and the matchplay with the Wednesday start, but I’m home tonight and I’ll fly out tomorrow and maybe take a bit of a chilled afternoon tomorrow and get going on Tuesday again and see what draw I get.

“Hopefully, I can go out and win my match on Wednesday and see where it goes from there.”

Lowry will arrive in the Texas capital where he’ll join Waterford’s Seamus Power who is making his debut in the $12m event, while World No. 6 Rory McIlroy is taking the week off ahead of teeing-up in next fortnight’s Valero Texas Open.

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