Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

McIlroy backs Lowry to succeed

Shane Lowry jumps for joy after beating Robert Rock at the third play-off hole at The 3 Irish Open at Baltray

SHANE LOWRY has nothing to fear on Tour, says Rory McIlroy, insisting the skills which propelled the Clara cyclone into Irish Open history at Baltray can also make him a big hit as a professional.

McIlroy (20) learned of Lowry’s decision to turn pro shortly after posting a plucky level-par 72 in yesterday’s first round of The BMW PGA Championship.

“I don’t think there was anything for Shane to wait for,” he said. “Even the Walker Cup would have been a let down after last week.”

McIlroy added: “Shane shouldn’t try to change anything. It’s still the same golf ball — he’ll play with the same clubs. Everything’s the same except he’ll be playing for money.

“Once you prepare properly for each tournament and know the golf course, it’s a matter of hitting the shots and Shane’s very capable of hitting all the shots.”

McIlroy warned of one pitfall: “You play so much golf, maybe twice as much as an amateur, you sometimes find yourself going through the motions. Those are

the weeks you don’t do very well. So you must get your scheduling right — take breaks when you need them and keep yourself fresh to play golf.”

After Sunday, Lowry needn’t worry about his card until 2012.

“Shane can enjoy himself and play the events he wants,” McIlroy explained. “He can schedule better than guys who’ve been out here 20 years.”

Peter Lawrie registered Ireland’s only sub-par round yesterday, a 70 leaving him three behind leaders David Horsey, Anthony Wall and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Disqualified from the Irish Open last Friday, Michael Hoey retired on 13 yesterday feeling unwell — tests at a local hospital suggested fatigue. After his first round 75, Graeme McDowell went for a precautionary MRI scan on the shin injury which forced his retirement last Saturday.

Lowry lost out on a big payday for the second time in five days yesterday — but he wasn’t complaining.

Lowry, the 22 year old who won the Irish Open as an amateur, did not qualify for the £500,000 first prize, and he won’t get a signing on fee for turning professional.

Horizon Sports Management will look after Lowry’s on and off-course requirements as he embarks on a Tour career.

Their Managing Director Conor Ridge said: “We don’t pay signing-on fees but in fairness to Shane, he’s never even talked about the financial side of things.

“This is a career decision for him. It’s about the people he’s getting involved with and the people he wants to manage his career. I know we’re going to work very well together.”

Lowry confirmed that after a hectic few days of celebration and huge media attention, he is not making money a priority.

“I said to Conor, ‘all I want to do is to be able to go out and play golf’. He said to me ‘that’s what you’re going to be doing.’

“Conor’s going to look after everything else and I’m happy with that and my family are happy with that.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out on the European Tour and playing some golf.”