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A sweet moment: Lowry tasted success on Saturday.
A sweet moment: Lowry tasted success on Saturday.
Image: Kamran Jebreili

Lowry climbs back inside world's top 50 after bumper payday in Abu Dhabi

The Irishman ended a three-year trophy drought on Saturday with victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Jan 21st 2019, 9:27 AM 35,679 27

SHANE LOWRY HAS reached a two-year world ranking high after banishing the demons of his US Open near-miss to reignite his golfing career with a sensational wire-to-wire win in Abu Dhabi.

The 31-year-old ended a three-and-a-half-year wait for a fourth career title on Saturday as he showed remarkable mental strength to clinch a one-shot victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

A first tournament win since August 2015 not only earned Lowry a cheque for €1,024,195 and provides the springboard for the year ahead, but sees the Offaly native move back into 41st in the world golf rankings from 75th.

Crucially, Lowry — who lost his PGA Tour card last season — is off to a flying start in the 2019 Race to Dubai Rankings as he bids to make Pádraig Harrington’s European team for next year’s Ryder Cup. 

“I still have a goal in my head I’m working towards every day and just because I won this doesn’t mean I can take my foot off the gas,” he said.

“It’s a great stepping stone, no doubt because I’m back in the big tournaments now for the foreseeable future and hopefully I can kick on from here and move back up the world rankings where I feel like I really belong.”

Lowry held his nerves on the back nine to make up a deficit of four shots after losing a three-shot advantage early in the final round to South African Richard Sterne. 

“It was an emotional roller-coaster. I obviously went out with the lead by a few and before I knew it, I was four behind. I was brave out there today. I grounded out well and I’m over the moon.

“People looking from the outside probably thought I was gone, but I holed a couple of great putts on 12 and 13 and I knew I was in it then.

Abu Dhabi Golf Lowry with caddy Brian Martin. Source: Kamran Jebreili

“I said to my caddie walking down 16 that [if I got] three fours on the last three holes we could have a shout here.

He said he had talked in depth with his coach Neil Manchip before the tournament ‘about hanging in and staying in there no matter what I do and no matter what I shoot and what shots I hit.’

He added: “It definitely helped me out there today.”

With Lowry and Sterne level heading down the 18th, the Irishman produced a stunning three-wood approach on the par-five to set-up a birdie four, which was enough to clinch the title.

Lowry admitted it was one of the best shots he’s ever produced.

“I think so yeah. I knew Richard was in a bit of trouble when he hit his second shot right,” he said.

That was one of the best shots I’ve hit. It was a little down slope below my feet.

“I aimed it to the left edge of the green and just hammered it. It came out lovely and I knew the minute I hit it that it was good.

“To go up and be able to two-putt it for a win was lovely.”

Both Lowry and Paul Dunne will be in action at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic this week. 

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