Monday, January 25, 2010

Shane Lowry, outshone high profile players to finish fourth in Abu Dhabi.

Lowry on a high while McIlroy is frustrated

Shane Lowry showed he belonged in the professional ranks with an assured fourth place finish in Abu Dhabi on Sunday while Rory McIlroy, who finished one place ahead of his former Ireland team-mate, said he is becoming frustrated at not converting good finishes into his second tour win.
Lowry, who only joined the paid ranks after winning the Irish Open as an amateur last May, produced a seasoned display in Abu Dhabi – to earn €75,000 - and will look to build on that success in this week’s Qatar Masters.
November’s third place at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan in November still represents the 22-year-old’s best finish in his brief eight-month career, but last week’s haul of points moved Lowry into the world’s top 100 and certainly proved he has what it takes to challenge for further honours on a regular basis.
“I came out last week with no expectations, but got a bit of confidence early in the week and took it on from there,” said Lowry, who closed with a final round 67.
“I played really well and putted nicely so it was a nice week to start the year off with.”
With eight of the world top 14 on show in Abu Dhabi, Lowry outshone high profile players such as Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson, while European No 1 Lee Westwood missed the cut.
“I don’t need to work on anything. I played well enough to win, but it just didn’t happen for me on Saturday, but that’s always the way,” added the Clara professional.
“My whole game was good and I just need to keep the confidence levels up.”
“It’s a bit of confidence going into the next three weeks. Hopefully I can keep it up and you never know what can happen, it’s all about getting in contention on Sundays and I felt I was there or thereabouts last week.”
McIlroy, meanwhile, laughed off his slide out of the world’s top 10 to 11th but is becoming frustrated with his inability to convert a string top-five finishes into a second career title.
The 20-year-old claimed an eighth top-10 finish in his last nine starts on Sunday to finish third place behind champion Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter, who both overtook him in the world rankings to sixth and 10th respectively.
After recording a career-best finish in a major with third at the US PGA Championship last August, McIlroy has finished outside the top seven only once with two runner-up finishes to his name, while he also finished a close second at the World Cup after winning twice at the World Match-play in Spain.
“It’s important to keep the run going, it’s nice to finish up there all the time, but it would be nice to convert some of the top threes into wins as it’s getting a little frustrating,” said the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic champion.
“Four rounds in the 60s was a great way to start the year and that’s the way I have to look at it.
“It would have been great to win, but it’s another week I can build on and it gives me a lot of confidence going into Dubai knowing I can score and have the capability to shoot low numbers when I need to.
“If I keep putting myself in these great positions and keep knocking on the door sooner or later it will happen, I just have to keep doing it.”
McIlroy will not feature in Qatar this week and will fulfil commercial commitments across the United Arab Emirates, which will include a hot air balloon trip on Saturday, before heading to Emirates Golf Club next week - the scene of his wire-to-wire victory 12 months ago.



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