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Shane Lowry undecided on Irish Open participation at Galgorm


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Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry

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Setting goals: Shane Lowry is content with his current form

Setting goals: Shane Lowry is content with his current form

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Shane Lowry

Shane Lowry is desperate to tee it up in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open next month but his participation at Galgorm Castle is uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Co Offaly star (33) admitted after squeaking into this week's first FedEx Cup play-off event that he'll wait a few weeks before making a decision on playing from September 24-27.

Lowry will have to fly from the US Open in New York to the UK rather than Dublin if he wants to avoid a 14 days of quarantine on arrival.

"We'll see what happens," the Open champion said after finishing tied-23rd in the Wyndham Championship to make the top-125 in the FedEx Cup table.

"There's been quite a few cases over the last few days in Ireland. So, look, I don't want to make any decisions. What is it, six weeks out? I'll make them over the next couple of weeks."

It's understood Lowry and his team are actively seeking precise health and travel advice from the UK and Irish authorities on the protocols he must follow on his return to Europe.

Lowry won’t have seen his wife or daughter in 10 weeks and, with his schedule uncertain, getting time at home is key.

The European Tour announced yesterday that it was bringing forward the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (Oct 1-4) and the BMW PGA Championship (Oct 8-11) by a week, creating a mini UK Swing as it continues its strategy of staging consecutive tournaments in geographical clusters.

Lowry’s immediate goal is to make the top-70 in the FedEx Cup and progress to next week’s BMW Championship in Chicago, and that will take improved driving and a high top-10 finish.

“Obviously the goal next week would be to make Chicago,” said 122nd ranked Lowry, who is joined at TPC Boston by Rory McIlroy (6th) and Graeme McDowell (113th).

“Then the goal from there is to make it to East Lake, but that would be a hell of a three weeks.

“I need to do something very special. But I feel like I’m playing good golf. If I’m going to try and compete in the next few events, I need to start driving the ball a little bit better than I have been.”

The European Tour remains at the Celtic Manor Resort with Cormac Sharvin, Jonny Caldwell, Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan in the field for the ISPS HANDA Wales Open.

The LPGA Tour is at Royal Troon for the AIG Women’s Open, with Leona Maguire and amateur Olivia Mehaffey arriving there with good memories from their wins in the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Strokeplay.

“It’s definitely nice to go somewhere you feel familiar and comfortable with the surroundings,” Mehaffey said.

Maguire’s confidence is up after her encouraging share of 18th in last week’s Scottish Open at the Renaissance Club — her first start for seven months.

“It was a tough course to start back on but really happy with how patient I stayed,” she said ahead of what promises to be another challenging week with poor weather forecast.

Meanwhile, Jim Herman fired an eagle and seven birdies in a seven-under par 63 on Sunday to capture his third PGA Tour title at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Herman followed up his career-low round of 61 with another sparkling effort at Sedgefield Country Club, where his 21-under par total of 259 gave him a one-stroke triumph over Billy Horschel.

The win in the final regular-season event before the US tour’s playoffs begin also vaulted Herman from 192nd — outside the playoff field — to 54th in the FedEx Cup standings, booking his place in the 125-man Northern Trust at TPC Boston next week with room to spare.

Belfast Telegraph