Thursday, May 30, 2024

McIlroy and Lowry win Zurich Classic in sudden death – News – Irish Golf Desk

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“I feel nearly a little bit bad by taking them because Rory carried me a lot of the way, but they’re mine, and they are not going away!”

The Ryder Cup duo were five shots off the lead with 12 holes to play before playing them in five-under to card a four-under 68 to force a playoff on 25-under with world No 233 Ramey and 387th-ranked Trainer, who shot a sensational nine-under 63 to set the target.

The clubhouse leaders had to wait two hours and 45 minutes to learn their fate was another trip down the 18th against the major-winning Irish duo.

In the playoff, Trainer found the left rough while McIlroy mishit his drive he still found the fairway.

Ramey pulled his second way left onto a cart path and while Lowry’s three-wood from 283 yards came up short in sand, Trainer nervously chunked their third after a drop.

McIlroy hit his long bunker shot to 12 feet below the hole and while Lowry missed the birdie putt for the win, Trainer missed from six feet to extend the playoff.

The Offaly man needed the win to boost his confidence, and he was happy to make the three-footer on the 72nd hole to secure the playoff after missing several short putts throughout the week.

“It was a short putt but I’ve been struggling recently on the greens and missed one today as well,” Lowry said. “I just had to dig a little bit deeper. But it’s nice to win.  “It’s disappointing for the lads to finish the way they did, but you know, we’ve just had the best week, and anytime this man wants to partner me, I’ll be happy to do so.”

It was a happy end to a day that began with a bogey at the first after Lowry pushed his three-wood tee shot, and it bounced off a cart path into bushes.

While they birdied the par-five second, the Offaly man missed a short par putt at the third to see them slip to 11th, four shots off the lead.

They missed chances at the fourth and fifth and were five behind clubhouse leaders Chad Ramey and Martin Trainer, who shot a nine-under 63 to set the target at 25-under.

But they soon found their rhythm and birdied four of the next five holes to haul themselves back into contention.

McIlroy made a seven-footer at the seventh before Lowry chipped to a foot at the 379-yard eighth to leave them just three shots behind.

They then made a chip-and-putt birdie at the 10th before McIlroy made a 10-footer at the 11th after another great Lowry chip, that left them just one behind Ramey and Trainer.

Chances slipped by at the 12th and 14th before Lowry hit a stellar fairway bunker shot pin high at the 16th, and McIlroy converted the left to right breaking 15-footer to leave them in a three-way tie for the lead with Ramey and Trainer and overnight leaders Blair and Fishburn.

Lowry had the tee shot at the 188-yard 17th, but after he sprayed it right, well clear of the water, he could not make the 15-footer for par.

They were now a shot behind Ramey and Trainer, and Blair and Fishburn, tied for third with playing partners Ryan Brehm and Mark Hubbard and needed a closing birdie four at worst to keep their title chances alive.
McIlroy hit a massive drive, but while Lowry pulled their 218-yard approach left of the green, McIlroy played a brilliant pitch to three feet.

After a long wait as Brehm and Hubbard failed to make birdie at the last and ended up tied fourth, Lowry duly converted the birdie putt for a 68, which was good enough for a two-way playoff on 25-under.

McIlroy was making his debut in the event but he vowed to come back and defend after suggesting over what he described as a “drunken lunch” following the Ryder Cup that they team up.

“Yeah, it’s been an amazing week. I’ve never been here before,” McIlroy said. “Shane has been here a handful of times, and we’ve gone out for some really nice dinners, and people could not have been more hospitable or nicer to us during the week.

“I’d say we’re going to come back and defend next year; what do you think?”

Smiling, Lowry said: “I hope so. I’ll be here.”

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