Tuesday, May 28, 2024

McIlroy and Lowry hope team win can pave way for summer success – Irish Golfer Magazine

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Shane Lowry was relieved to notch his first PGA Tour win since the 2019 Open Championship and earn some much needed FedEx Cup points which sets him up for the summer.

Lowry is now exempt into the final three Signature Events of the season meaning he can plan his schedule and perhaps enjoy some family time in Ireland when his wife and children fly home.

The Clara man teamed up with Rory McIlroy to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at the weekend and having relied on an invite to the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month, he has guaranteed his spot in all the big events and he hopes it can free him up to launch a serious bid at the remaining three major championships.

“I wasn’t going to be in Quail Hollow,” Lowry said. “I was hoping to get an invite for Memorial and with the Travelers, I really didn’t know what was going to happen.

“I knew I needed to make up some FedExCup points, and this gets me in those, and it means I can plan my schedule now.

“With family stuff and my wife and kids going back to Ireland in the summer, it means I really don’t have to stay over here and grind it out too long. I can do more what I feel like I want to do.

“It’s freed me up a lot this summer. Hopefully, we can both kick on now. We’ve got three majors left. Hopefully, we can get one each, or maybe two and one.”

The pair arrived at the team event looking to find a spark after enduring underwhelming seasons so far. McIlroy has been far from his best despite now winning twice this year, but both players struggled at the Masters and the subsequent RBC Heritage the week after.

“You know, we both felt like we needed to come in here and maybe have a very strong week because we wanted to get our summer going, and we’ve got a lot of big golf coming up soon,” said Lowry, who jumps from 41st to 12th in the FedEx Cup standings with McIlroy up from 44th to 15th.

“We felt it would be nice to get that jump up the FedExCup that we both wanted.”

McIlroy has had his fair share of technical struggles in 2024 but he believes this win could free him up for the remainder of the campaign.

“To play the sort of golf we did coming down the stretch when there was a little bit of pressure, I think that’ll stand to us, also,” he said.

“I’ve always felt like I play my best golf when I’m enjoying myself, and it’s hard not to enjoy yourself when you’re out there walking the fairways with Shane.

“I think to win any PGA Tour event is very cool, but to do it with one of your closest friends, we’ve known each other for a long, long time, probably like over 20 years, so to think about where we met and where we’ve come from, to be on this stage and do this together, really, really cool journey that we’ve been a part of, and yeah, just awesome to be able to do it alongside this guy.”

Lowry and McIlroy made hard work of it, having to beat Martin Trainer and Chad Ramey in a playoff after the former had missed some putts throughout the round, but he was full of praise for McIlroy as a teammate.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, like having this man by my side — you saw the drive he hit up the 18th, the 72nd hole. When you’ve got him doing that, it’s pretty easy to play golf from there for me.

“I made it look hard at times, but no, it was amazing. We went out there, we had loads of fun, and we won the Tournament. You couldn’t ask for a better week.

“Over the last couple of months or the last few Tournaments, I’ve struggled on the greens a little bit. I changed my putter this week. It feels really good but I’m not trusting it as well as I would like.

“I missed a couple of short putts and that kind of gets me down a little bit. But Rory is there backing me up this week, and he was a great teammate, and he made me believe in myself. It was good to have him there to do that.”

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