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Shane Lowry slams US PGA officials after major challenge comes up short

Irish golfer Shane Lowry was pleased that he was competing at the business end of golf tournaments for the third weekend running but expressed his frustration at a rules official after a controversial incident on the 16th hole of the final round of the US PGA Championship at Bellerive in St Louis.

Brooks Koepka held off a thrilling challenge from Tiger Woods to join one of the most exclusive clubs in golf with a nerveless victory in the 100th US PGA Championship.

Koepka carded a closing 66 in a breathless final round at Bellerive Country Club to finish 16 under par and two shots ahead of Woods, joining Woods, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the US Open and US PGA in the same season.

After decent displays at the RBC Canadian Open and Barracuda Open over the past few weekends, Lowry was just four shots off the lead on 10 under after rolling in long birdie putts on 12 and 13.

"That’s three weekends in a row right up there, back where I feel I belong. When you hole a long putt on 12 and 13, it's just like crazy out there," he said.

Lowry's chances of posting a dangerous clubhouse score were ended on the par 3 16th when his tee shot went well right and ended up behind a television tower.

He called for a rule's official to assist in a drop away from a television tower, but wasn't happy with the outcome, as he felt he was entitled to full relief. He asked for a second opinion but was again frustrated.

"I think the referee didn’t have the balls to make a decision there and if he did I would have had an easier shot," Lowry said.

"If you put (European Tour official) John Paramor or any of the good referees out there, he would have given me full relief. But he wasn’t giving me full relief; he was telling me to drop it in the tree, basically. I ended up making a good four. If I’d made double I wouldn’t have been too happy with him.

"It took so long I felt I was getting in Justin's way - he ended up making bogey as well. Two referees and neither had the balls.

"So I said, do you know what? I am just going to play. I didn't want to wait around any longer. It happened. It is not the end of the world."

Another bogey would follow on 17 and he would eventually finish on eight under par in a tie for 12th place.

"I just got a bit complacent with my second shot on 17 and it was almost too easy. I had a perfect number and I have been hitting my three wood unbelievably well all week and I just hit a bad shot."

Lowry's recent performances looked highly unlikely just three short weeks ago at the Open Championship in Carnoustie when he parted ways with caddy Dermot Byrne after the first round and missed the cut.

His brother Alan has taken over on the bad and Lowry has rediscovered some form.

"You have doubts in your own head, and you have people start doubting you. And it's a lonely game and a tough place when you are not playing well," he said.

"But when you are back, and you are competing, there is no better place in the world to be.

"That's the reason why we endure the day you have at Carnoustie and things like that.

"I said it to Alan and my dad driving in, no matter what happens it's been a great week, and it has.

"To be up there again on 'Major Sunday' is what it's all about."

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