Distracted Lowry looks on bright side

Shane Lowry secured his best finish in nearly a year but two crowd distractions over the closing holes in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews cost him victory.

Distracted Lowry looks on bright side

The sound of a spectator’s camera led to a bogey at 13 and while Lowry also missed a three-foot par putt two holes later, the Clara golfer admitted he was also distracted on the final green by crowd noise at the 17th that resulted in him leaving his birdie putt short. In the end he fell a shot shy of making the eventual play-off.

England’s David Howell (67) ended his seven-year winless drought to birdie the second extra play-off hole and defeat American Peter Uihlein (69) after both players ended regulation play tied on 23 under par.

Lowry had come from two strokes behind at the start of the final round to race into the lead in a three-hole stretch after holing his second shot for eagle at the 10th in an eventual round of 68.

“While I am a bit disappointed I have to be happy as to finish 22 under par in any tournament, especially around these three courses, is quite good,” he said.

“I shot four rounds in the 60s so you really can’t beat yourself up about that and besides, I will collect some good world ranking points and good Race to Dubai points.”

In fact, Lowry has jumped 18 places to 28th on the Race to Dubai table.

Darren Clarke’s eight-litre Mercedes was parked in the R&A car park allowing him a fast exit to catch a Belfast-bound ferry after securing his best finish since capturing the 2011 British Open.

Clarke birdied five of his opening 10 holes and despite dropping shots at 14 and 15 he was pleased with a share of 12th place.

“It was a great outward half and just a little disappointing to let two go there near the end, but my swing is definitely moving in the right direction and my putting is a lot better,” he said.

Clarke’s next event will be on the OneAsia Tour next fortnight in China, while Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who posted a final round 67 for a share of 20th place on 16 under, is headed to this week’s Seve Trophy.

“I am having a beer in Sunningdale tonight with Sam Torrance the GB&I captain and then sit down with Jose Maria [Olazabal, European captain] on Tuesday,” said McGinley.

Michael Hoey (73) shared 26th place on 14 under and his fellow ex-Dunhill Links champion Pádraig Harrington (71) was tied in 40th.

Elsewhere, there was some All-Ireland glory for Cork on Saturday with East Cork GC winning the Junior and Challenge Cup titles at the Private Home Care Inter Club Championship finals at Mullingar.

East Cork enjoyed an emphatic 5-0 win over Dun Laoghaire in the Junior Cup, with a 4-1 victory over Newlands in the Challenge Cup.

Meanwhile, Castletroy defeated Carlow 2-1 in the Junior Foursomes final.

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