Belfast Telegraph

Shane Lowry showing signs of recovery but major must wait

In the wilderness: Shane Lowry on the course yesterday
In the wilderness: Shane Lowry on the course yesterday

By Liam Kelly

Shane Lowry's learning curve continues.

This week's test was 'how do you follow a win in a world event?'

The answer was 'with difficulty' but Lowry was not too downbeat after he summoned a creditable 69 from a tired mind and a tired body in 80 degrees heat at the US PGA Championship.

His score could have been better yesterday but the main damage was done on Thursday with a six-over-par 78. It was a far cry from Sunday when a sensational 66 propelled the man from Clara, Co Offaly, into mpworld renown and victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, not to mention a whopping pay cheque of more than €1.45million (£1.03million).

Truth to tell, Lowry's level of disappointment was tempered considerably by his heroics last week at Firestone.

His ambitions and goals are high. This year's targets were to get into the World's top 50, and win a pro event for the third time.

He surpassed those aims, moving from 48 in the world to 19, and now has secured all kinds of benefits, including a three-year passport to play on the PGA Tour.

The difference between his previous wins in the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur and the 2012 Portugal Masters on the European Tour was that Lowry did not play the following week.

He was never going to miss a PGA Championship, but the challenge to play as well as he would have liked was immense, given the toll taken by the battle to win the Bridgestone.

"My thought all week was to just rest myself, but I was so tired all week," he said.

Meanwhile, Pádraig Harrington admitted that his injured right knee - he fears a torn cartilage or torn ligament - affected his sleep on Thursday night, but made no excuses after signing for 71, and a three-over-par 147 total.

"I struggled to sleep. It didn't affect my golf at all. Not a bit.

"I holed a few good putts early on, but in the last 11 holes, I missed nine chances, some of them pretty close. Nine out of 11 is a lot," said Harrington.

Darren Clarke did not enjoy a happy 47th birthday yesterday. Clarke's horrible 81 for a 15-over-par overall tally saw to that.

"It's my birthday today so after that effort I might go out tonight and get hammered," he said.

Graeme McDowell's 76 and five-over for the tournament ended his involvement at Whistling Straits, a flurry of late birdies yesterday doing the damage.

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