Shane Lowry faces an anxious Augusta National invitation wait despite defeating American Andrew Putman 3 & 2 on day three of the WGC – Dell Match-Play Championship in Texas.
It was a do-or-die match for the World No. 48 ranked Lowry before coming from behind to deny the World No. 53 Putman what could have been his second win in the event.
Had Putman won, and also with the American defeating reigning Masters champ, Patrick Reed on day one, he could have knocked Lowry from the world’s top-50.
The European Tour’s Ian Barker, who oversees the running of the World Rankings, commented that given the many scenarios this week he really will not know to late over the weekend whether Lowry has done enough to stay inside the top-50.
Lowry’s big threat could come from World No. 52 Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard who won through to the last 16, with last year’s Dunhill Links winner also almost certain to break into the top-50 should he win through to the semi-finals.
If he does, the big question is how far up the rankings will he advance and will any rise up the Rankings knock Lowry out of the 50?
Certain to be concerned is South African Justin Harding who, at World No. 49, was headed home early in failing to go through to the final 16.
American Kevin Kisner is into the Masters after a top-four finish in last year’s Open Championship but at World No. 50 he could also overtake Lowry in winning his match over compatriot, Kevin Mitchell. Then with Kisner and Ian Poulter having to play-off after each were tied atop of their group, Kisner gained redemption for his defeat to Poulter in round one by beating him on the third extra hole to progress to the knockout stages.
It did not look bright for Lowry early-on in his match with Putnam after being behind for 10 holes before going 1-up with a six-foot birdie at the par-3 11th hole. He lost the 12th in posting a bogey but played a brilliant wedge shot to just three-feet at the 13th to get back to 1up from where he was never behind.
The Offaly golfer won both the 14th and 15th holes with birdies for his only victory, and in what was a deserved victory after Thursday’s tied thriller against Reed, next fortnight’s defending Augusta champ.
Lowry’s all-important half point in his match against Reed and a win over Putman should see him stay inside tomorrow’s cut-off point for Masters invitations but the permutations are hard to predict so he’ll have to wait and see.
With Lowry defeating Putman, it ensured Garcia won the group and with the Spaniard grateful to Lowry.
“All thanks to Shane, I am into the last 16,” said Garcia smiling.
Putman could leave the Texas capital really short-changed having seen a maiden Masters invitation denied him a second time after last August, the 30-year Tacoma-golfer won his first Tour title in capturing the Barracuda Championship but, given the event is held opposite the WGC – Bridgestone and with prizemoney of $6.3m is deemed by Augusta National not to be a ‘Masters qualifying tournament’, Putman did not receive a letter in the mail postmarked ‘Augusta National’.