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Lowry left with work to do in pursuit of Rahm and Race to Dubai top spot

The Open champion returned to action at the Italian Open this morning.

Lowry shot a 72 on Thursday.
Lowry shot a 72 on Thursday.
Image: Getty Images

SHANE LOWRY HAS left himself with work to do in his bid to reclaim the lead at the top of the Race to Dubai standings from Jon Rahm after a frustrating opening round at the Italian Open.

Lowry, who returns to action this week after his 20th-place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, carded a first-round 72 in Rome to sit on one-over par. 

The Open champion currently sits second in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai standings and requires a top-three finish this weekend to move back ahead of Spaniard Rahm.

Lowry is bidding to become the fourth Irish golfer to finish the season top of the European Tour standings following Ronan Rafferty, Pádraig Harrington and three-time winner Rory McIlroy. 

With Rahm not playing again until the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Lowry has the chance to take command of the rankings race but started slowly in Italy.

Two bogeys on the front nine saw him hit the turn two-over and although he dropped another shot on the 11th, Lowry did manage to pull things back with a string of three birdies in four holes from 12 to 15. 

A bogey finish on 18 added to Lowry’s frustration on Thursday morning, as he signed for a 72 to sit way off the early pace set by Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen on seven-under.

Graeme McDowell is best of the Irish as he opened with a two-under-par round, while Paul Dunne is a shot further back on one-under. 

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Ryan Bailey

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