Lowry urged to delay pro move
Colin Dalgleish hopes Shane Lowry will delay turning professional until after September’s Walker Cup.
Walker Cup captain Colin Dalgleish is hopeful that new sensation Shane Lowry will stay amateur until he has competed against the Americans in September.
The 22-year-old spent Monday thinking about his immediate future and trying to get his head around the fact that he had beaten eight of the world’s top 50 – Open and US PGA champion Padraig Harrington included – and 21 of the top 100 to win the Irish Open.
A two-year European Tour exemption is there waiting for Lowry, who today came straight into the rankings at 168th, and he could, of course, turn professional in time to play in this week’s £3.9million BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
But although that must be tempting – especially after he was forced by his amateur status to hand over the £438,000 first prize at County Louth to Robert Rock, the player he had defeated in the play-off – Dalgleish sees no need to rush ahead of September’s match at Merion in Pennsylvania.
“It remains to be seen and we will live with whatever he decides, but the exemption allows Shane to take his time,” he said.
“He can now turn pro on his terms and I am very hopeful that he will play the Walker Cup. It has a great profile in America.”
In February New Zealander Danny Lee became only the second amateur to win a European Tour event. He waited until he had played in The Masters last month before switching.
Spaniard Pablo Martin, at the 2007 Portuguese Open, was the only other amateur to achieve the feat, but Dalgleish added: “You’d have to say that Shane’s victory was the biggest.
“To win your own national Open is quite something. It was unbelievable, it really was.
“We knew he was hugely talented, but this was absolutely fairytale stuff. To have shot a 62 (it equalled the lowest ever by an amateur on the circuit) and to have basically led from the second round onwards was simply stunning.
“When he fell two behind at the start of the back nine you could sense the commentators thinking ‘There he goes’, but I didn’t think it was a bad thing because he had to make it happen again.
“I was driving back from the Brabazon Trophy (Lowry had asked Dalgleish whether to play at that amateur event in Leeds or take up the invitation to the Irish Open and he had advised the latter) and because there was nothing on the radio about it I stopped at a hotel where they had a big screen.
“By then I’d missed him missing his three-footer on the last and after watching the first play-off hole the screen froze and so I didn’t see the finish live.
“But what a performance. He was always a bit special and quite a big occasion player. And when the Walker Cup squad last got together you could see he was a lot fitter.
“He’s a big lad and sometimes he’s struggled playing in a lot of heat, but he’s been doing some gym work and I remember standing on the first tee and watching him launch his opening tee shot.
“He’s also gained a lot of confidence from what Rory McIlroy has done.”
The pair were partners before McIlroy, having waited himself for the 2007 Walker Cup, embarked on a pro career which has already taken him into the world’s top 20.
Lowry said straight after joining McIlroy as a Tour winner – and, unlike the Northern Irishman, doing it in his very first start: “I am sure I will have a call from Colin.
“I will have to speak to other people to see what they think. But I’d be mad not to consider going pro.”
Dalgleish was planning that call later on Monday. He suspected Lowry might have enjoyed a good and long night following the emotional scenes amid thousands of jubilant fans who stayed to cheer him to victory despite pouring rain and the fact that they had had to leave their cars nearly 10 miles away because the fields designated for parking had become muddy swamps.
Two years ago Harrington became the first home winner of the Irish Open since 1982. Nobody then or even a week ago would have guessed that an amateur named Shane Lowry would be next.
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