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Lowry, McDowell just miss out on Florida QBE Shootout victory

 

By Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell had to settle for a Christmas bonus of $257,500 (£192,406) apiece after they ran out of steam and finished two shots behind Steve Stricker and Sean O'Hair in the QBE Shootout in Florida.

The Irish pair were bidding to become the first non-American team to win the event since Australians Greg Norman and Steve Elkington in 1998.

But after surging two shots clear on 22-under thanks to four birdies in their first seven holes at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, they could make just two more birdies, closing with a six-under-par 66 to the Americans' 64 to finish second on 24-under par.

It was a disappointing end for the Irish pair, who shot a super, eight under 64 in greensomes on Saturday to go into the final day of fourballs tied for the lead.

They got off to the fast start they wanted too, picking up birdies at the first, fourth and sixth to lead on 21-under.

But Stricker and O'Hair refused to go away and were sharing the lead on 22-under heading down the stretch.

Both teams missed chances at the 10th, McDowell's slick 10-footer hanging on the lip, before O'Hair rolled in a seven-footer for birdie at the 11th to put the Americans one ahead.

After that it was a tale missed opportunities for the Irishmen - Lowry overborrowing from 20 feet at the 12th before McDowell under-read a 10-footer at the next, then tugged an eight-footer wide at the par-five 14th as Stricker (50) made no mistake from half that distance.

Now two adrift, McDowell made up for his earlier misses by converting a six-footer for birdie at the 15th.

But their title hopes ended at the par-five 17th when O'Hair hit a towering approach to 12 feet and both McDowell and Lowry found sand.

Lowry failed to get out and McDowell missed a 10 footer for birdie, O'Hair delivered the coup de grace by converting his 12 footer for an eagle to effectivly seal the game for the Americans.

Belfast Telegraph

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