Shane Lowry has moved up one place to 19th on the World Rankings but it’s little comfort after a second straight Honda Classic disappointment following his share of fifth place in Sunday’s concluding PGA Tour at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida.
The Offaly golfer was desperate to make amends a year after being ‘robbed’ of success in the 2022 event but an opening hole bogey to kick-start Sunday’s round heralded what was to be a no-frills affair in a level par score of 70.
Of course, Lowry was also seeking success to honour the memory of his uncle, William Lowry and brother to his father, who passed away earlier last week.
Lowry was left lamenting finishing just four shots behind American Chris Kirk, who ended a seven-year Tour victory drought in winning out in a play-off.
Lowry’s effort is a best PGA Tour finish since back-to-back third place results some 11 months ago at The Masters and the following week’s RBC Heritage.
And he’s travelled north up the I-95 for a first time in two years in a positive frame to contest Thursday’s starting Arnold Palmer Invitational.
“I played lovely, and I just couldn’t get it going. I started to get uncomfortable on the greens early on, and that was the way it was the whole day,” he said.
“It was just disappointing, but I had a lot of positives to take from the week including some nice FedEx Cup points. My golf game is in a place where I’m happy with it. I’m going into a nice part of the season.
“I have to look at the positives. Obviously, I didn’t get the job done but fair play to Chris (Kirk). He went away and played well, and yeah, I just never got it going.
“I hit the ball well enough to get into contention but just didn’t hole the putts.”
And the ultra-competitive side of Lowry was no more evident when it was suggested that after missing back-to-back cuts at the start of his PGA Tour season, he’s now produced a pair of top-14s.
“Yeah, that’s right and even after my week in Phoenix, I was a little bit lost, and you’re standing there, and I was 180th or something in the FedEx Cup,” he said.
“I’m thinking like, I need to make some FedEx Cup points soon so I’ve had two nice weeks, and hopefully I can build on this going forward now.”
And he has in jumping 41 spots to 89th on the FedEx Cup standings.
Pádraig Harrington ended his Honda Open campaign with a disappointing two-over 72 to eventually share 60th place at one-over.
Harrington, along with current European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, have been afforded invitations to contest this week’s upgraded $US20m event.
Harrington and Lowry are being joined by former Arnold Palmer champ Rory McIlroy and West Waterford’s Seamus Power.
WORLD RANKINGS … Irish Male Players
No. 3 – Rory McIlroy (Unchanged)
No. 19 – Shane Lowry (Up one place)
No. 28 – Seamus Power (Unchanged)
No. 250 – Padraig Harrington (Up 3)
No. 310 – Tom McKibbin (Down 4)
No. 387 – Graeme McDowell (Down 4)
No. 518 – Gary Hurley (Down 14)
No. 538 – John Murphy (Down 10)
No. 643 – Niall Kearney (Down 3)
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