Lowry overcomes late fright to boost hopes of advancing at Match Play

Fatiha Betscher
Lowry overcomes late fright to boost hopes of advancing at Match Play

Shane Lowry (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry boosted hopes of advancing to the knockout stages of the WGC- Dell Technologies Match-Play but only after being handed a late-round fright by South African rival Erik van Rooyen.

Lowry was in the box seat, ready to hand Van Rooyen a 4&3 thumping on the 15th green but van Rooyen had not read the script. For 14 holes in their match, it was all Lowry. He went 1 up at the fourth, 2 up at the seventh, 3 up on 12, and then 4 up at the 14th before Van Rooyen delayed what looked like the unavoidable with a birdie at the 15th.

Van Rooyen, already ruled out of advancing, then pulled back another shot brilliantly holing an 18-foot eagle putt at the par-5 16th, for Lowry to be now just 2 up.  And if you thought we’d already seen the best of van Rooyen, he teed off the par-3 17th, sensationally landing his tee shot to just under two feet from the flag, to make it three birdies in succession, and this after Lowry found a greenside bunker with his tee shot on route to a par.

So, after looking to close out his match on 15, Lowry was headed down battling to par the last and win by the slimmest of margins at 1 up.

Both players were on the final green in two with van Rooyen eventually conceding Lowry’s short birdie putt before van Rooyen posted par for Lowry to be officially credited with a 2 up victory.

“Erik did a great job there at the end, and he kind of did what I did to Harold yesterday,” said Lowry.  “He just kind of hung in there and I always say it because of this course, and if you get a match that goes down 16, as anything can happen then. You can go eagle, birdie, birdie, and Erik nearly did that.

“So, I am very relieved and dinner is going to taste nice tonight, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Lowry faces the unbeaten Brooks Koepka who easily accounted for Harold Varner III 2&1. However, if Lowry defeats Koepka and also Varner III wins out over van Rooyen, there will be three players tied at the top of group 16 on four points. That would mean a sudden-death play-off to decide who goes through to the final 16.  There would be a two-man play off if Lowry gets the better of Koepka.

“Brooks Koepka is obviously one of the best players in the world but I’m playing nice golf, and I will go out there and play as good as I can and see what happens,” Lowry said.

Though before heading off to the close-by clubhouse, Lowry was quizzed if he is a fan of the tournament format.

“I’ve never had good success here. I’m not sure — I don’t know, not sure if I love the format. I’d love it if it was a straight knockout format personally,” he said.  “Obviously I’d be home today if it was, but I just think it gives it a bit more bite every day or something.

“I will just try and have as good a week as I can, enjoy myself. To be honest, the way I am this week I just want to keep continuing some good golf and keep my confidence levels quite high going into Augusta, and if I can do something good here at the weekend — look, it’s hard to get out of your group in this tournament.

“It’s hard to do quite well in it. Yeah, if I can do something good in the tournament, all well and good, but I just really want to keep my good golf going and confidence levels high.”


  • Brooks Koepka – 4 points (2 wins)
  • Shane Lowry – 2 points (1 win, 1 loss)
  • Harold Varner 111 – 2 points (1 win, 1 loss)
  • Erik van Rooyen – 0 points (2 losses)
  • Full scoring HERE

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