Shane Lowry is looking to celebrate the end of his 10th European Tour season with a double Dubai delight and he joins Rory McIlroy and Paul Dunne in this week’s DP World Tour Championship, the final event on the 2018 Race to Dubai schedule.
After more than 40 tournaments around the globe, the European No. 1 crown has come down to a battle between the best of friends – Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood while Lowry’s goal since returning to Europe for last month’s Portugal Masters remains unchanged – to finish top-30 on the Race to Dubai and head to next week’s World Cup of Golf in Australia with the comfort he’s into next year’s historic return of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
The Clara golfer, currently 43rd on the money list, has been inching towards that achievement in recent weeks with a sixth in Portugal, second in Spain and then a T14th in Turkey.
Unfortunately, Lowry went backwards last week in South Africa, dropping from a share of fourth heading to the final two rounds of the Nedbank Challenge to finish T35th and he is now staring at needing to finish top-four on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Estates if he’s to end the year inside the top-30, and what would be a fifth occasion in his European Tour career.
“I’ve played well here in the past and I like Dubai, like coming here, like playing here, the weather’s perfect, it’s good,” said Lowry.
“The thing is though I generally don’t really like the golf course. It’s a tough golf course off the tee and it is one of those where there is a lot of anxious tee shots.”
“So, as for this week it will be first things first. You don’t want too many early tee times round here, so you need to go out and shoot a good score in the first round and that’s what I need to do because this golf course plays easier when it is windy in the afternoon.”
“That’s the way I am looking at it this week. I just need to go out and try and shoot a half decent number on Thursday and take it from there.”
Lowry will play the first round alongside Race to Dubai No. 42 and Aussie Lucas Herbert and while Herbert is making his debut, Lowry can draw on his good memories of a year ago when he shot a closing round 63 to bravely finish runner-up behind Spain’s Jon Rahm.
“I know how to get around this place so that is what I draw on,” he said. “This is a golf course that doesn’t suit many people; the short hitters it definitely doesn’t suit because it is hard to get it around hitting long irons into these greens. You need to drive the ball long and straight. So, hopefully I can figure it out over the next couple of days.”
And Lowry is also hoping he can figure it out well enough to earn himself a late tee-time on Sunday so that he can watch the 11pm starting coverage (local Dubai time) on Saturday night of Ireland versus the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium.
Lowry will be at McGettigans Bar, the home of one of his sponsors, to watch the clash. “I will be 100% watching Ireland and the All Blacks on Saturday night no matter what my tee-time is on Sunday,” he said smiling.
“It’s not too bad and hopefully I will be in bed by 1am, and hopefully I will have a late tee time. If I don’t have a late tee time, I won’t be going that well so I won’t be too bothered.”
IRISH TEE TIMES – (Irish time)
Paul Dunne – 4.20am
Shane Lowry – 5.25am
Rory McIlroy – 8.20am