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Lowry calls for date change as frustration gets better of G-Mac

By Liam Kelly

Shane Lowry has joined the chorus of home golfers who want to see the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open move from May to a mid-summer date.

Lowry, the best-finishing Irish player after winner Rory McIlroy, rounded off the rain-lashed tournament with a two-under 70 for a 287 (one-under) total, and said: "We need to have it later.

"The course was amazing, and credit to them for that, but I think we need to have it later in the year. They are trying to get one near The Open. That would be ideal - July, and the dates around The Open, would be perfect. I'm sure you'd get a few extra players playing. Hopefully, that would be the case."

Lowry was certainly right about the excellent job done by K Club course superintendent Gerry Byrne and his staff.

The layout held up very well - despite the torrential downpours of rain and hailstones, which caused long delays on Saturday and for lesser periods yesterday.

A date in June or early July would hopefully tip the odds in favour of better weather, but from a golf perspective, Lowry and his fellow professionals just had to get on with the job.

Next up is the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, and Lowry is confident.

"I'm looking forward to going over on Tuesday and getting around Wentworth again. It's where my season started the last two seasons," he said.

The pride of Offaly marked himself out of 10 for the various departments of the game: seven for driving; eight for short game; and around six for putting.

"My putting - I'm not happy with it, but I don't feel uncomfortable," he said. "I hit the hole a lot on Thursday, and if a few of those had gone in, I wouldn't even be thinking about it.

"I'm giving myself chances. I'm hitting good shots most of the time. The big thing for me is I'm not hitting any disastrous shots."

Graeme McDowell found himself in the unaccustomed position of last finisher of the nine Irish players who made the cut, scoring 80 for an 11-over total.

The Ulsterman said: "My struggles on the greens just ran through my game a little. Frustration kicked in, and combine that with some wet conditions...

"It's the same for everyone, but I just didn't deal with them very well, and I'm disappointed.

"I came here feeling confident, and I'm trying my best to maintain that going forward."

Former Walker Cup trio Paul Dunne, Gavin Moynihan and Gary Hurley, in their first year as Tour professionals, gained some experience in their first Irish Open in the paid ranks.

Moynihan (70) and Kevin Phelan (71) finished tied 36th on one-over. Hurley shot 78 and Dunne 74 for tied 60th.

Ryder Cup captains present and past, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, carded 72 and 75 respectively.

Clarke, playing alongside Lowry and Chris Wood, started from the 10th, and reeled off three birdies in four holes.

A double-bogey seven on the 16th halted his momentum. Nines of 36, 36 left him at two-over for the tournament.

McGinley finished at 10-over par after a tough weekend.

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