Green won’t match the Clara colours but Lowry can wear the jacket home

Ronan MacNamara

Shane Lowry (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Golfers rarely look suited to donning the Green Jacket but Shane Lowry might just make Clara black and Augusta green work and become the first Irishman to win the Masters.

Since playing with Tiger Woods at the weekend in 2020, Lowry has cracked the code over the last four Masters editions and put a previously poor record behind him.

Four top-25 finishes in a row including a tie for third in 2022 show that Lowry can be classed as a form horse when it comes to Augusta National.

Having fallen outside the top-50 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in over five years, putting his participation in next year’s Masters in jeopardy, Lowry has kicked into gear.

An excellent spring saw him contend to win twice before a final round of 66 saw him top-20 at the PLAYERS, even his T29 in Singapore while battling jet lag was littered with birdies in a sponsor’s event he didn’t need to play after rediscovering his form.

Looking through the Offaly man’s CV there is no doubt that his six professional wins are nowhere near enough for a man of his ability, however, he compensates for it by winning and winning big.

A man for the big occasion all the way back to 2009 when he won the Irish Open as an amateur, Lowry boasts the 2019 Open Championship, a WGC and the BMW PGA Championship amongst the big titles he has won.

The statistics this week point towards Lowry continuing his good record in the biggest events.

He is one of just three players to have finished inside the top-25 in the last four Masters tournaments (Scheffler, Matsuyama, both have won the Masters).

A stellar iron player, Lowry has the ball striking tailor-made for an Augusta charge, ranking inside the top-20 for greens in regulation over his last four starts here.

One of the best iron players in the sport at a golf course that rewards greens in regulation and not necessarily great putters. Again, you can look to Scheffler and Matsuyama for that metric.

Lowry has the game, he has the ball striking and he has the shot shaping that the undulating fairways and sloping greens require to access pins that are often tucked on top or at the bottom of crowns.

Billed as a potential Augusta specialist earlier in his career due to his magic hands, Lowry struggled to get to grips with the golf course, missing the cut in three of his first four starts, but none since.

Strangely, the magic hands around the greens don’t always translate to on them and it will be the flat stick that determines whether Lowry is truly in the mix over the weekend.

Such is the strength of his play from tee to green, particularly his approach play where he ranked 2nd at the Cognizant Classic and 7th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Decent putting weeks of 21st and 27th had him in the thick of contention on Sunday afternoon, even at the PLAYERS he was 13th in strokes gained approach on a golf course where you are shooting at narrow targets.

He was 55th in putting that week which is why he was 19th and not 9th.

However, the Augusta greens don’t necessarily reward aggressive putters. It takes imagination to play the greens at the Masters and Lowry not being one of the more aggressive putters on tour can have joy in dying the ball into the hole.

Lowry has ranked inside the top-5 in putting at some stage during the last three Masters tournaments so he is capable of finding some magic with the flat stick, but being ultra sound from short range is a weakness he will need to overcome and fast.

A ball striking machine, a man for the big occasion, a return to form and someone who has become comfortable at Augusta after some early years intimidation, Lowry has a chance and he is quietly confident.

“A few years, even just coming here can be like a semi-intimidating place to come and play,” he said ahead of his ninth appearance. “It is different to every tournament you play, so it took me a few years.

“I feel like I have got the grasp of it now. Will I play well this year? Who knows. But I certainly feel like my game is in decent shape and I feel I can go out there and play well this week.”



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