SHANE Lowry is enjoying his play in the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play and the Masters after making his fifth top-15 of six starts this year.
The Offaly man made four birdies and a bogey in a third consecutive three-under 68 at the Valspar Championships in Innisbrook to share 12th place (€144,714) at 11-under par.
Lowry, who is looking to jump three places to world 33rd, has broken par on nine of his last 11 rounds and has finished inside the top 24 in all six starts this year, narrowly missing out on victory at the Honda Classic .
He finished fourth for shots from tee to green and third for approach play, but while he was a little frustrated not to be fighting for his first win since The Open in 2019, he travels to San Antonio on Tuesday with high hopes .
“The game has been pretty good but it’s been a frustrating week this week, especially when I see 16 under the lead now,” said Lowry, who was denied his third top-10 finish of the year when he missed a six-footer for Birdie on 18th and ended up 37th for strokes won on putting.
“I feel like I could have done a lot better but my game is in great shape and we have a wide variety of tournaments ahead of us so I’m really looking forward to the next set of events.
“I would have preferred the court to have played a little firmer all week like I did today. That would have been nice, but I like it here and I will come back.
“I like the tournament very much. The course suits my eye in my opinion. I’m getting used to playing in Florida now that I’m living down here, so yeah, it’s all good.
Lowry, who is expected to climb to 33rd in the world, has yet to break out of his group since the 2015 WGC Dell Match Play switched to round-robin play, but he’s hoping to get his batteries back quickly for his latest event charge before leaving for Augusta National.
“The matchplay will be good but it’s going fast,” he added. “I feel like I haven’t had any days off for the past few weeks. It was busy with The Players on Monday and matchplay starting on Wednesday.
“But I’m home tonight and I’ll fly there tomorrow and maybe take a little bit of a relaxing afternoon tomorrow and go back on Tuesday and see what draw I can get. Hopefully I can go out and win my match on Wednesday and see where we go from there.”
As for the tournament, Sam Burns (25) became the first player since Paul Casey in 2019 to successfully defend the title when he potted a 33-foot birdie on the second extra hole (16th) to defeat rookie Davis Riley ( 25) after carding to hit a 69 against Riley’s 72 to force a playoff at 17-under.
Burns was two clear and had two to play, but the 17th was a bogey and Riley, playing at the back of the match, birdied.
Justin Thomas and Matthew NeSmith also had their options, but shot 70 and 71, respectively, to end an outside-playoff shot at 16-under.
In the playoffs, Riley paced the sand on her return for 18th to save par as Burns shaved the hole from 18ft for the win.
But the Louisiana native made no mistake on the second extra hole, the dangerous 16th, where he drove into the left rough but found the green and birdied to earn his third PGA Tour win and 10th place finish to advance the world as Riley bunkered his approach from the middle of the fairway.
Séamus Power was expected to remain ranked 48th in the world a week before the cut-off for the Masters.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/my-game-is-in-great-shape-shane-lowry-excited-ahead-of-world-match-play-and-masters-41469627.html “My game is in great shape” – Shane Lowry happy ahead of World Match Play and Masters