“When it’s breezy, swing it easy” is a well-known golfing adage and it proved to be just the advice Alan Lowry needed to follow in the footsteps of his famous big brother and win the Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy.
Seven years ago, Shane Lowry putted the lights out to win on 17 under par at the storied midlands track.
But with a southerly wind gusting up to 35mph, Esker Hills and Maynooth University star Alan had enough, with closing rounds of 70 and 74, to win by two strokes from Knock’s Colin Fairweather on a two-under-par 286.
In common with Shane, Alan putted superbly down the stretch, carding a final-round 74 to set an unbeatable target from the penultimate group.
But in this case his putts were for par not birdies as he battled to keep his score together in the wind. And it was a swing tip his brother gave him before heading off to Akron for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational that proved crucial as he came from five strokes behind Joe Lyons at halfway to lift his first major title.
Insisting that having Shane Lowry as your brother is a help and an inspiration rather than a burden, Alan said: “I didn’t think it’s difficult. It is great to look up to him.
“We actually played on Friday and he gave me a little tip about swinging a bit slower and I came up here and I was hitting it a bit easier and obviously I won. It’s unbelievable to see him there and I get confidence from seeing him doing what he is doing. To get my first win here is fantastic. It still hasn’t sunk in.”
Two under and five behind Lyons with two rounds to go, Lowry carded a two-under-par 70 in the morning and insisted he had no idea it gave him a share of the lead on four under with Daniel Holland (74).
He went out in two over par after mixing a birdie at the fifth with bogeys at the second, seventh, and ninth. But even after dropping another shot at the 11th, he knew he could still finish the tournament in the red.
“My game plan was to keep plugging along and thankfully I came out a couple shots ahead,” he said.
As Lyons slipped to tied fourth on two over after rounds of 76 and 77, and Fairweather followed a morning 74 with a 75 to finish second on level par, Lowry’s clutch putting over the last seven holes was key. After holing for six feet for par at the 12th, he made downhill five-footers at the 13th and 14th and a four-footer at the 15th before ramming home a 15-footer for birdie at the par-five 16th to get to two under.
As Lowry made a gutsy par at the 17th and a safe par at the last, Fairweather bogeyed the 15th, 16th, and 17th to slip from the tied for the lead to three behind before finishing with a birdie.
“To be honest, for the whole round today I kept grinding and holing putts for par, taking it shot by shot, not getting ahead of myself,” Lowry said. “I am so happy to come out on top, it means a lot.”
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