Shane Lowry Battles Back to Claim First Title Since 2015
Shane Lowry won his first European Tour title for almost four years when he secured Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in dramatic fashion - and immediately announced that his sights were firmly set on securing a place on Padraig Harrington's Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits.
The Irishman began the final round with a three-shot lead but found himself trailing South Africa's Richard Sterne by four with only seven holes left to play before producing a sparkling fightback to win with a birdie on the 72nd hole.
Lowry suffered a miserable time on the US PGA Tour last year, finishing 138th on the money list and without any top-10 finishes. But the 31-year-old now leads the Race to Dubai after picking up a cheque for $1m.
“This puts me to where my goal is for the next 18 months, and that’s to be on the plane to Wisconsin with Paddy [Harrington],” Lowry said after a victory which is set move from 75 to around 40 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
“That’s where I want to be and I think this is a great stepping stone for that.”
Lowry had not tasted victory since the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and he had to do it the hard way as his three-shot overnight lead quickly evaporated.
Sterne had six birdies and a bogey to go out in 31, and Lowry’s fourth bogey of the day on the 11th left him four shots adrift of the South African.
But he became the first player in European Tour history to make 11 birdie twos in a tournament when he birdied the short 12th, and a 30-foot putt on the 13th edged him even closer.
The pressure got to Sterne as he dropped shots at the 14th and 16th and a wayward approach at the par-five 18th opened the door for Lowry, who found the green in two and secured victory with an 18-inch tap-in putt.
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Shane Lowry is a four-time European Tour winner. pic.twitter.com/uAuj3mXLHx
“People looking from the outside probably thought I was gone, four behind with seven to play,” Lowry said.“But I’ve had greats chats with my coach this week about just hanging in and staying there no matter what I do, what I shoot or what shots I hit.
“Just keep going and it definitely helped me out there. It’s been a long time [to win] and I’m just over the moon.”
Holland’s Joost Luiten finished third three shots behind Lowry, with Louis Oosthuizen fourth and Soren Kjeldsen fifth.
Luiten’s eagle putt on 18 gave him a best-of-the-day 65 and outright third place.
Former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen fired a 66 to finish fourth and Soren Kjeldsen was a shot further back in fifth.
Paul Waring, Pablo Larrazabal and Ian Poulter, who closed with a disappointing 72 after a triple-bogey seven at the 16th, shared sixth place on 12 under.
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