Lukes Blues: Rory and Shane in top-6 but Europeans need to step up

Ronan MacNamara

Shane Lowry (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry remain in the European Ryder Cup automatic places despite contrasting form at last week’s WGC Dell Technologies Match Play.

McIlroy was beaten on the 19th by Cameron Young in the semi final while Lowry’s dismal record in the event continued with another group stage exit, although he went down swinging and brought Jordan Spieth with him after he beat the Texan 2&1.

Victor Perez squeezed into the automatic qualifying spots, leapfrogging Yannik Paul in the process on the European Points List.


Perez lost his opening two matches at the Dell Technologies Match Play after narrow losses to Jason Day and Collin Morikawa but a convincing 5&4 victory over Adam Svensson in his final match gave him enough points to move up the list.

The Frenchman was impressive in the Hero Cup before winning at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

McIlroy was Europe’s highest placed player in Austin, Texas, as he was narrowly defeated in the semi-final by Young before going on to beat World Number One Scottie Scheffler in the third-place play-off.

The big mover of the week was Matt Wallace who claimed a maiden PGA Tour victory thanks to a one shot win over fellow Team Europe hopeful Nicolai Hojgaard at the Corales Puntacana Championship.

Already a four-time winner on the DP World Tour, Wallace’s U.S. breakthrough victory sees him climb 20 places on the World Points List and into 22nd place with 32.08 points.

It was a much needed performance from a European point of view with a host of blue and gold hopefuls struggling for form over the spring.

With Thomas Pieters more than likely to be absent from Rome in September, another spot has potentially opened up for one of Europe’s younger players to play their way in automatically or as a captain’s pick from Luke Donald.

Of the players who will most likely be relying on Donald’s word in September, form makes for grim reading.

Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, Italian duo Francesco Molinari and Guido Migliozzi, Alex Noren, Adrian Meronk  and Sepp Straka are all struggling for form as of late while US Open winner Matthew Fitzpatrick has endured a flat start to 2023 as has Lowry.

Between MacIntyre, Migliozzi, Molinari, Straka and Noren there have been just two top-5 finishes in the last five weeks between all players.

Wallace’s win was much needed with a host of European hopefuls from a similar crop needing to step up as we enter the bulk of the season.

As it stands McIlroy (2,171.50 points), Jon Rahm (1,883.53 points), and Perez (1,286.02 points) would claim the three automatic qualifying spots on the European Points List, with Tyrrell Hatton (108.72 points), Viktor Hovland (103.92 points) and Shane Lowry (62.71 points) currently sitting in the top three positions on the World Points List.

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