Lowry finished the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open as the only home-grown competitor other than Rory McIlroy, to finish under par, in a tie for 23rd. His closing 70 still left him on one-under-par for the week, 11 shots behind the tournament host and new champion, but the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational champion feels he is trending in the right direction, as he gears up for next week’s BMW PGA Championship, at Wentworth.
He has a good record in what is the European Tour’s flagship tournament, with three top-six finishes in his last five starts, including a runner-up place, to McIlroy, in 2014, and a tie for sixth, 12 months ago.
“I’m not far away. I’m definitely not far away. I’m looking forward to next week,” Lowry said. “I’m looking forward to going over on Tuesday, and getting going around Wentworth again. The last two seasons, it’s where my season has kind of started. Looking forward to getting going.”
Lowry would like to be taking more momentum to Wentworth, but, despite shooting his best score in four days at the K Club, he felt his final round failed to spark in the company of Darren Clarke and Chris Wood.
“One of those days. I think our group in general, after (Clarke’s fast) start, was pretty flat. I couldn’t get anything going. I didn’t really hit many good shots. I was missing a few greens, but my short game was on fire. I had some lovely up-and-downs, which I’m pretty happy about. Other than that, obviously I would have liked to shoot a few better today.
“New driver in the bag. That was okay this week. Like I said, my short game was pretty good, and I certainly feel like, if I could have held a few putts this week, I could have been there or thereabouts. That’s probably the way it feels to me.” Of his putting, Lowry added: “I’m not happy with it. I don’t feel uncomfortable over the ball. It’s just, I mean, I feel like I hit the hole a lot on Thursday and if a few of those had went in, I’d be off and running and wouldn’t even be thinking about it.
“But the more you miss, the more you start thinking about it and it just gets very frustrating, and that’s the way it has been for the last few days. But onwards and upwards. Got another week next week. I feel like I’m getting there.”
Kevin Phelan and Gavin Moynihan were next best of the Irish, on one-over-par in a tie for 36th, both closing with under-par rounds, a 71 and 70, respectively. Ryder Cup captain, Clarke, finished with a level-par 72, two-over for the week, but after that it was a long way down to the bottom of the leader board.
Maynooth house-mates, Paul Dunne and Gary Hurley, will have to console each other, after finishing eight-over-par. Paul McGinley’s 75 left him at 10-over, but Graeme McDowell had a truly awful day, to follow his Saturday 76, shooting an 80, to finish dead last, in 65th place.
At least he took it in good humour. Having admitted he had not coped at all well with the adverse weather conditions throughout the week, he was asked whether he would be in favour of possibly looking to move the tournament.
Quick as a flash, McDowell replied: “To Spain?”