Lowry ready to bounce back from Hero Cup disappointment

John Craven
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Shane Lowry (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry returns to action this week in Abu Dhabi eager to put his Hero Cup disappointment behind him and ensure his confidence remains intact ahead of a bumper season in 2023.

The Clara star went 0 for 4 last week as the Continent of Europe got the better of Lowry’s GB&I side in a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal played out before the watchful eyes of European Captain Luke Donald.

On the face of it, it was a week to forget for the Offaly star but focus on the numbers and Lowry was good in patches despite clearly being undercooked on his seasonal reappearance. So much so, Captain Donald fully backed Lowry, insisting it would be no surprise to even see him win this week at Yas Links.

And with the support of Donald ringing in his ears, Lowry’s focus has switched to the first Rolex Series event of 2023 as he looks to hit the ground running and cement his place on Donald’s side ahead of September’s Rome revenge mission.

“I felt like I played alright last week, actually, and I need to make sure that I don’t lose too much confidence in the results and think about the results too much because I think if you look at my game and look at my scoring, I was actually OK,” Lowry said.

“So I need to take that into this week. I played well here last year. I was in the last group with Thomas on Sunday. Didn’t perform as best I could, but, you know, I put myself there.

“I like it golf course. It’s a bit tricky and can get windy around here. Hopefully I can come here and have a really nice week.”

Lowry’s right not to read too much into his play last week. His first outing of the year after an extended time back home for Christmas, barring injury, it would be an almighty shock should the World Number 20 be anything but a pillar in Donald’s team-room come game-day in Rome.

Still, even with his growing stature within the sport, Lowry admits it was nice to hear Donald airing his support this past week; slight consolation for the deflated Clara star who no doubt hoped for more having been entrusted to set the tone for GB&I in the first singles match on Sunday, only to come up against a brick wall in an inspired Francesco Molinari.

“I felt like I was in the team room, the team environment, and I wanted to really win for my team,” Lowry said. “It was a nice week to kick start the year. Obviously, the result was not what I would have liked, but yeah, everything about the week was amazing and the Tour did a great job.

“And he [Donald] said that to me on Sunday. To be honest, I felt there were certain points of the week where if I was a little bit better, I would have won a couple of matches; and if I win two matches out of the four instead of losing the four of them, we win the tournament, or tie anyway.

“I was disappointed with myself on Sunday evening. Not that I feel like I let the team down because you get into a team environment and you say, ‘right, there’s no ‘sorrys’ this week’. Everyone gives 100 percent and does the best they can and I feel like I did that.

“Yeah, if I had won a couple of matches last week, yeah, things obviously would have been different, but it’s nice to hear him say stuff like that. I feel like I learned a lot last week, actually. I really did, about myself and about even playing some team golf. Hopefully, I can use that if I’m there in September.”

Despite only making his debut at the biennial contest at Whistling Straits, the 2019 Open Champion looks set to be a leader in Donald’s locker room in September, and he was asked who of the younger generation put their hands up to join him in Rome.

“I can only speak for the GB&I team,” Lowry said. “I got to see what some of the lads are like in there. Obviously I think Bob [MacIntyre] stood out. I think Richard Mansell has something about him. He’s got a swagger that I like. Yeah, obviously the European, the Continental Europe side, they played good golf and they played better golf. I can only speak for my team but what I saw, pretty impressive.

“To get it know the likes of Richard Mansell and Jordan Smith and even Bob, to get to know these lads properly is pretty cool. It’s nice. Bob, he plays a little bit in America so you get to see him but the other lads just play over here in Europe. Who knows, that could help.

“Yeah, we were very together as a team and Sunday night the team rooms were brought together and everyone mingled, and they did on Tuesday. There was a couple of times on Tuesday where they had a couple of ex-captains in there and giving talks and stuff when we’re together.

“I have learned over the last sort of only two or three years how big The Ryder Cup is for this tour, and like I said earlier on, it is great to see everyone working towards it together, whether it be the guys looking after the clothes or the nutrition or everyone is working towards one goal. I think we’ll all be happy if we’re there on the 18th green in September with that little gold trophy.”

Lowry will be joined in this week’s Abu Dhabi field by his GB&I teammate Seamus Power with Power again no doubt looking to win the money after last week taking 200 Dirham off Bob Mac and Lowry in practice.

Three-time Major winner Pádraig Harrington is also in the field, while Holywood talent Tom McKibbin has secured the biggest opportunity of his playing career to date after getting in as a reserve to the $9m event.

  • Full tee-times HERE

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