Now at number 44 in the world rankings, Shane Lowry tees up at the AT&T this week confident of maintaining his place inside the world’s top-50.
Shane Lowry has returned to golf’s richest stage for a first occasion in nearly six months confident of securing a Masters’ invitation.
Lowry will team with Gerry McManus, the younger brother of JP, in this week’s €6.64m PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California.
The Offlay golfer is no stranger to the event and returns with a real spring in his step having captured last month’s European Tour Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
However, by not contesting last week’s Saudi Invitational, Lowry arrived to the severely storm-affected area of the West Coast having dropped three places on the World Rankings to No. 44.
Lowry either needs to capture one of the now five PGA Tour events he is currently set to contest up to the Masters or be inside the top-50 in the World Rankings on April 7th to be assured of returning to Augusta National for a first occasion since 2017.
“I’ve played two tournaments this year finishing first and twelfth which isn’t bad and coming back to Pebble Beach is great as I’ve played here quite a bit in recent years, and I do like it here,” he said.
“Gerry and I have been team-mates for some years now and we are both looking forward to the week.”
There was despair for Lowry last August in losing full PGA Tour status by missing the cut at the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina.
But that anguish all changed following his win in the UAE capital with Lowry not only competing in this week’s event but he’s also confirmed for the February 21st starting WGC – Mexico Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational (Mar 7-10), the following week’s Players Championship and the March 27th starting WGC – Dell Technology Match-Play in Texas.
If all goes well by staying inside the top-50, Lowry will then drive down Magnolia Lane for a fourth occasion in his career for the April 11th starting Masters.
“This is the first time I’ve been in the States since the Wyndham and I left that tournament very disappointed,” continued Lowry.
“Now in coming back to the States, I’ve got a brilliant schedule as I am playing here at Pebble Beach, I’m into the Mexico WGC, Arnie’s event, the Players, the Match-Play and the Masters.
“I don’t want to count my chickens but I would have to say I’m looking good for Augusta and I would have to play pretty badly between now and the cut-off point not to be heading back there.
“The great thing about all the events I am contesting leading-up to Augusta is they carry huge World Ranking points.”
Lowry, however, indicated his goal in returning to the States for a first time since August 20th, 2018 is not to regain his Tour card but to simply do well in the events he’s contesting.
“My goal is not to get back my US card but to do the best I can in the tournaments I’m into. It is so much different for me just six weeks into the New Year as I was planning to go last week to Saudi and also head in a coming of weeks to Oman and Malaysia on the European Tour,” he said.
“It’s just nice to be in some really big events these next few months but I have definitely not come back to the States actively trying to get back full-time onto the PGA Tour.
“Simply, I just want to enjoy my golf and continue playing as good as I was at the end of last year and as I had been playing for the two weeks I was in the Middle East.”
Joining Lowry this week is Graeme McDowell, contesting his very first event of 2019 and on a Pebble Beach course that in June will host the US Open for a first occasion since ‘G Mac’ lifted the Major trophy on Father’s Day 2010.