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Lowry determined to keep leading from the front

 

Full focus: Shane Lowry says he still has work to do
Full focus: Shane Lowry says he still has work to do

By Phil Casey

Open champion Shane Lowry believes he will need to secure a third victory of the season to achieve his goal of winning the Race to Dubai.

Lowry is top of the European Tour's money list courtesy of his Open triumph at Royal Portrush and victory in Abu Dhabi in January but is just 400 points ahead of Austria's Bernd Wiesberger.

The 32-year-old plans to play at least five events before the season-ending DP World Championship in Dubai and admitted he is eager to get back into action at this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"I've played a couple of events in the States since The Open and coming back here this week it's kind of new again where everybody is coming up and congratulating me," said Lowry, who was yesterday awarded honorary membership of the European Tour.

"The first time I was announced as Champion Golfer of the Year was pretty cool. It's a lovely title to have. But to be honest, it has sunk in and I'm quite eager to get on with my golf, and I'm looking forward to trying to achieve different goals I have the rest of the year.

"The Race to Dubai is the obvious one. I'm number one and I want to stay there, but I'm going to have to play some good golf and I'm going to have to maybe win again.

"But I'm just going to go out like I've been doing all year, day after day and try and shoot as good a score as I can and see where it leaves me at the end of it. First and foremost I want to win the Race to Dubai at the end of the year."

Wentworth could be the ideal venue for Lowry to get the win he feels he needs, having recorded five top-15 finishes in his last seven starts at the European Tour's headquarters, including finishing runner-up to Rory McIlroy in 2014.

"I love it here," he added. "I think this is one of my favourite events in the world. Just the area itself around Wentworth, Ascot, Sunningdale, it's just a lovely place to be.

"The golf course I've always really liked, even when it used to get a lot of bad press before. Even when they first made the changes back in 2010, I actually really liked it and I just thought it was quite a difficult golf course, and I just loved it."

Lowry admits his life has changed considerably since his emotional victory at Portrush but feels he has handled the extra attention pretty well so far.

"I'm fairly recognisable with my beard, I think, but I do my normal things, I drop Iris to school and pick her up and we go to the playground and we go for a coffee," Lowry added.

"I do get stopped a little bit more but I bring her with me so I don't have to stop and talk because she's always running around! I think I've taken it in my stride pretty well and going forward we'll see what it's like."

Ten of last year's victorious Ryder Cup team are in the field at Wentworth, although Justin Rose has emerged as a late injury doubt.

"Last Thursday I slipped and jarred my knee," Rose said in a statement.

"Since then I have been getting treatment on the injury and I have been working hard with Justin Buckthorp and my medical team away from the course in order to ensure I am able to play in this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"Unfortunately, I have had to withdraw from Wednesday's Pro-Am as a precaution, but I am doing everything I can to be fit to play on Thursday."

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