Lowry ready to take on America

Shane Lowry will join a number of fellow European Tour members in taking advantage before the advent of new changes and enter this year’s PGA Tour Qualifying School.

The former Irish Open winner intends travelling to Orlando next month and reside with Graeme McDowell ahead of the October 24 first stage of qualifying at the PGA National course at Port St. Lucie near West Palm Beach Gardens.

The PGA Tour School will be last of its kind and with players then having to play at least a full season on the secondary Buy.com Tour as the only means from 2014 in progressing to the ultra-lucrative PGA Tour.

However if the current World No. 132nd breaks into the top-100 in the course of his next three events, the Esker Hills star will be exempt into second stage qualifying, commencing the second week of November.

Lowry could either achieve that goal this week by finishing top three in the BMW Italian Open and then will also have the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (October 4 to 7) and following weeks Portugal Masters to cement a second stage tee time.

“I’ve nothing against the European Tour, I love playing in Europe but I just feel I need to give it a chance, especially as this is the last year for Tour School,” said Lowry.

“I’ve got my European card secure for next year and while I’m not really in the Dubai World Championship, maybe the next few weeks I will feel it’s something I can really strive for.

“But if I didn’t do it now, maybe I’d regret it in a number of years.”

Lowry will join a number of players heading to Q-School including Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano but both of whom are inside the top 60 in the world. However confirmation Lowry will head to the US Tour School comes soon after fellow Irishman Michael Hoey decided against such a move, and along with defending BMW Italian Open winner, Robert Rock who confirmed he also is not comfortable with the thought of playing both tours.

Lowry is among six Irish contesting this week’s €1.5m event. Organisers have grouped the only three European Ryder Cup stars taking part — Francesco Molinari, Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer.

Meanwhile world No. 1 Rory McIlroy could come under pressure to defend his UBS Hong Kong Open title after the event was confirmed on the European Tour schedule.

There was suggestions the Hong Kong Open (Nov 15-18) would suffer the same fate as the Andalucia Masters (Oct 18-21) which has become the fourth Spanish event to suffer under a worsening economic hardship and be dropped from this year’s 2012 Race to Dubai schedule.

However two days after McIlroy indicated he would be contesting the Barclays Singapore Open (Nov 8-11) for a first time in his career, talks have resulted in leading Swiss bankers UBS coming to the rescue of the Hong Kong tournament. Already, McIlroy is playing two events in China in October along with Singapore and the season-ending Dubai World Championship (Nov 22-25).

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