Shane Lowry going all out to secure PGA Tour rights

Shane Lowry has given himself eight events up to the first week of June to secure full PGA Tour playing rights. 

Shane Lowry going all out to secure PGA Tour rights

The Carton House pro got his goal off to a great start a week ago with a share of seventh place in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

It was Lowry’s best finish in six regular PGA Tour events after his first attempt two years ago at playing more in the States back-fired, missing the cut in five of those six tournaments.

Lowry, as the current World No. 40, is eligible for next month’s WGC- Cadillac Championship, a first Masters appearance in April and then a start later that month in the WGC – Cadillac Match-Play Championship in San Francisco.

“On top of the WGCs and the Masters I’ve managed to gain invitations into the Valero Texas Open the week before Augusta, the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and the Memorial in the first week of June,” he said.

When you include the Farmers Insurance Open and this week’s Tour event at Pebble Beach Lowry will be competing in the eight events for total prize-money of $63m.

The two WGC tournaments are worth $9.25m apiece, the Masters field will be tackling a prize purse of $S 9m while the Players is the biggest of any event on this year’s 2014/15 wrap around schedule tantalising competitors with $10m in prize money.

Lowry’s already earned $190,000 this season and will need around $800,000 to reach full temporary member status. And while Lowry will be making his debut at TPC Sawgrass he’s already thinking ahead to April 9 when he’ll make a maiden Masters appearance, and exactly a week after he turns 28.

“I’m looking forward very much to the Masters but then I’m not sure if I will get myself to Augusta before the tournament,” he said.

“I am taking two weeks off after this week’s event here at Pebble Beach then coming back to States to play the Cadillac and then another two weeks off to play the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.

“G Mac (Graeme McDowell) is also playing the Cadillac and he’s out in San Antonio so between now and the Masters I will try and hook up with him to play a few practice rounds and pick his brain as to what to expect at Augusta.

“I’ll also arrange to play a practice round with him when we get to Augusta. So while it would be nice to play a few rounds at Augusta before the Masters I am not going to be pushed as I want to try and treat it like a normal week.”

Of course, squeezed in between competing in the Players and teeing up in the Jack Nicklaus hosted Memorial, is Lowry’s first two events on the regular European Tour and they include the May 21 starting BMW PGA and the following week’s Irish Open.

But while Lowry already has enough work on his plate, compatriot Pádraig Harrington will be striving to get an invitation into as many events as he can to win back his Tour card.

“I’ll be playing everything I can get into, so hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot of me this year,” he said smiling. “I probably played the most events of any player out here last year and I will probably do the same again this season.

“So I will play both Tour’s again and that includes 20 plus events here in the States and the 13 I need to play in Europe.”

And if there is one aspect of his game that Harrington is pleased about it’s his putting. “I’ve been using a centre shaft putter since last August and that’s the strong part of my game, and what I am most happy about,” he said.

Meanwhile it was a quite 36th birthday for Michael Hoey who failed to replicate the course record setting fireworks a day earlier in posting a second round 72 in the inaugural co-sanctioned Thailand Classic.

Hoey slipped from leading by one to be trailing three shots behind Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez who posted a 66 to lead by one at 11-under par on the Black Mountain course.

However the 51-year old, and Europe’s oldest-ever winner, will be under real threat over the weekend from local Thai hero Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who signed for a second straight 67 to be on 10-under par.

And one shot further back is prolific Thai-born champion, Thongchai Jaidee (66) who is among three lying in third place at nine under par.

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