The Clara ace straightened out his swing overnight and missed just one green in regulation as he compiled a six under par closing round to snatch eighth place on 15 under par, one stroke behind a misfiring Rory McIlroy (71) and seven adrift of a resurgent champion, Victor Dubuisson.
The emotional, 25-year old Frenchman, who had fallen more than 50 places to 69th in the world since January and suffered an alarming loss of form, made his third birdie in four holes at the 18th for a 66 and a one-stroke win over South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl on 22 under par.
“Putting,” Dubuisson said after a two-putt birdie at the 18th proved enough to break out of a 72nd tee tie for the lead with Van Zyl.
After watching Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand miss a tiddler on the last that left him third, two behind on 20 under, Dubuisson said: “For me, it’s all about the putting.
“My putting was really bad this year and short game, as well. But it’s because I didn’t really have time to practice a lot. You know, when you start to putt really bad, then you lose your confidence.” The 2014 Ryder Cup star could also have mentioned his miraculous pitch and putt par after penalty drop in the trees at the 10th or the chip-in eagle at the 11th that kept him in touch with the leaders.
After the 73-75 weekend that ended his European Tour season prematurely, Graeme McDowell said: “The big thing with my putting this year is it has been under too much pressure because I haven’t played that well,”.
“By the time you get to the greens, you need it too badly. So you start getting in your own way on the greens.”
McIlroy’s long game misfired yesterday but having started the day just a stroke behind Dubuisson and Van Zyl, he made two early birdies at the third and fourth but then lost his swing and did well to card a one under 71 for a share of sixth on 16 under, six behind the winner.
“I’ll be going away from this tournament disappointed with how I played today,” said McIlroy who started hitting iron shots left and failed to get up and down for pars at the eighth, ninth and 12th.
“But I’m still playing two more events this year and I feel like my game is good enough to give myself two opportunities to win again.” Under pressure on the greens, McIlroy didn’t putt well either, using the blade 31 times. But that wasn’t a problem for Lowry, who rediscovered his fade by moving the ball forward in his stance, and gave himself 17 birdie chances yesterday.
He took four of them and chipped in for an eagle three at the fourth to boot, carding a bogey free, six under 66 that could have been several shots better had he converted good birdie chances at the ninth, 15th and 18th, to name just three.
Still, a cheque for €156,449 and nearly 200,000 “Enhanced Points” moved Lowry up to third behind McIlroy in the Race to Dubai with three events remaining to Rory’s two.