Shane Lowry made waves at the WGC-Accenture and hopes for an extended stay. (Carroll/Getty Images)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
Shane Lowry burst onto the scene two weeks ago when he upset world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Carl Pettersson to advance to the third round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
This week, Lowry tees it up in his first PGA TOUR event that isn’t a major or World Golf Championship – the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com. He hopes that there are many more TOUR starts to come.
“I want to play on the PGA TOUR as much as I can,” said Lowry, who plans to stay in the U.S. until May. “I spoke to Connor, my manager, maybe six weeks ago and said, I knew this was opposite the Cadillac, so I said to him, ‘Any chance we can get an invite there?’ and we were lucky enough that we did get an invite. Very grateful for that and hopefully I can make the most of it this week.”
He knows that a top-10 finish this week gets him into next week’s Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank. As one of nine top-100 ranked players in this week’s field, he will have his chances to do just that.
“Yeah, obviously a top 10 would be great to get into next week,” Lowry said. “I really want to play here as much as I can, so if I can top 10, as I said, just focus on one thing and that's the first round on Thursday, try and shoot a good couple of scores, get me in contention, come Saturday afternoon and Sunday, you never know.”
Lowry, with a little more success, could be a candidate to join the PGA TOUR for the 2013-14 season. He’s earned 68 Non-Member FedExCup points thus far, and if his non-member points exceed those of No. 200 on the final FedExCup standings, he’ll earn a spot in this year’s Web.com Tour finals. The average amount of points needed to reach that number since 2009 is 88. He could exceed that mark with a top-30 finish this week.
MARANA, Ariz -- Shane Lowry became the first No. 64 seed to advance into the round of 16, but that is where it ended for the Irishman.
Lowry, who upset world No. 1 Rory McIlroy in the first round, ran into a red-hot Graeme McDowell on Saturday morning -- McDowell reeled off five birdies on the front nine to quickly seize the match.
Lowry took the early lead with a 10-footer for birdie at the par-5 second. But he gave that edge back -- and then some --with bogeys at the next two holes, and then McDowell went to work.
The Northern Irishman won the fifth, seventh and ninth holes with birdies to go 4 up at the turn. The two halved the next five holes with four pars and a birdie and even after a rare McDowell mistake at No. 15 it was just a matter of time.
"With the possibility of another 18 holes this afternoon, I was very keen to get the match out of the way as soon as I could, especially when I was 3 and 4 up," McDowell said.
"But Shane is a gritty competitor, very difficult to get the poker face on and really knuckle down and play Shane, being a good friend like he is. When he hit that pin with the flop shot on 13, I was licking my chops there thinking I had a chance to go 5 up with five to play, and all of a sudden I found myself down 16 and really not wanting to go down much past that."
SCORECARD STATS: McDowell made six birdies, nine pars and a bogey. Lowry had three birdies, 11 pars and two bogeys.
HOLES WON: McDowell won five holes. Lowry won two holes.
NEXT UP: McDowell plays Jason Day, who beat Bubba Watson 4 and 3.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Shane Lowry found it difficult to come down from the high of knocking off top overall seed Rory McIlroy in Thursday's first round. Lots of phone calls, lots of text messages and finding it difficult to sleep.
But once Friday morning arrived, Lowry refocused, eventually knocking off Carl Pettersson 6 and 5 in the second round.
Lowry has now advanced farther than any previous 64th seed has in this tournament. The previous three times that the last seed knocked off the top seed were followed by second-round losses.
"To lose in the second round is not what I want coming here this week," the Irishman said. "I wanted to go on. I feel like I could potentially do very well in this tournament."
He certainly played very well Friday, a bogey-free 5 under through his 13 holes.
Pettersson, who earlier in the day finished the completion of his first-round win over Rickie Fowler, didn't play poorly but couldn't keep up. He parred his first eight holes and found himself 3 down at that point. He dropped the ninth hole with a bogey and suffered another bogey at the 12th. He never won a hole.
SCORECARD STATS: Lowry carded five birdies and no bogeys. Pettersson carded one birdie and two bogeys.
HOLES WON: Lowry won six holes. Pettersson did not win a hole.
NEXT OPPONENT: Lowry plays the Alexander Noren-Graeme McDowell winner in the third round of the Jones bracket.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- Shane Lowry, who grew up playing against Rory McIlroy, upset the world No. 1 on Thursday in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Lowry made his run on the back nine, winning the 12th hole that McIlroy would later call a "big turning point" with a chip-in birdie and the 13th with an eagle to get a 2-up edge. He bogeyed the 14th hole but got that back with a concession at the 15th after McIlroy found three different bunkers, then parred in for the win.
"Obviously it was always going to be a tough match for me against Rory today, but playing against the world No. 1, I'm feeling quite good now, but it's important not to get too high now because it's only the first round, and I've got another match tomorrow and really looking forward to playing that," Lowry said.
McIlroy, who lost in last year's title match against Hunter Mahan, had never lost in the first round in five previous appearances at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
"I didn't make enough birdies in the end," McIlroy said. "Shane had a nice little stretch around part of the back nine. I hung in there, but I just didn't do enough."
McIlroy grabbed a 2-up lead early as Lowry bogeyed three straight starting at No. 2.But Lowry squared the match with a par at No. 6 and a 5-footer for birdie at the seventh hole before handing McIlroy the advantage again with another bogey at No. 9.
McIlroy bogeyed the 10th hole, though, and the match was square again. Lowry matched McIlroy's birdie at the par-5 11th, chipping in from 19 feet, and then went on the spurt that gave him a cushion he didn't relinquish.
"At the end I just tried to stay in the present," Lowry said. "I tried to play one shot at a time. I knew he was going to be under pressure coming down the stretch, especially when I was a couple up. That's why I was quite annoyed at myself that I handed him 14. I can't really afford to do that against him, what I thought.
"But he obviously felt the pressure. I mean, everyone feels the pressure. It's the world match play at the end of the day, and everyone that's here deserves to be here, and no one is going to be an easy match."
As friendly as the two men are, the banter between the two was minimal as the pressure mounted on the back nine.
"I tried to keep it that way," Lowry said. "I said to Darren, my caddie, walking down 11 or 12, he's not liking this one bit. He's the one under pressure, I've got nothing to lose, so let's have a go from here. I just tried to focus on my game and focus on one shot at a time. At the end of the day it's a huge day for me. It's a bigger win for me than it would have been for him."
Lowry acknowledged playing against someone he knew so well -- the two ate dinner together on Tuesday night -- was a factor. Had he drawn Tiger Woods, as it looked like he would before Brandt Snedeker withdrew, the task could have been more of a challenge.
"Deep down I knew I could beat him," Lowry said. "I'm not here for no reason. I'm not here to make up the numbers. I was quite nervous starting off. I handed him a few holes early doors, but he handed me a few back later on in the round. And this is match play, and I got a few breaks where I needed them, and I'm just fortunate to win."
Shane Lowry burst onto the scene in 2009 when he won the Irish Open as an amateur.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- Shane Lowry, the 64th overall seed this week at Dove Mountain, knows it will be "nerve-racking" moment when he tees off Thursday against top overall seed Rory McIlroy. But he also wants to enjoy every moment of their first-round match.
The match was one of nine that didn't get going Wednesday after snow blanketed the course at Dove Mountain.
"I'm here playing against the world No. 1 in the World Golf Championships," Lowry said. "What more do you want? What's not to enjoy about it?"
It helps that Lowry and McIlroy have known each other for nearly a decade. Lowry, from Ireland, and McIlroy, from Northern Ireland, played amateur golf together. They've played practice rounds together. They go out for dinner when they're playing the same tournaments. And McIlroy was there when Lowry won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009; in fact, McIlroy even helped spray champagne on Lowry during the victory celebration.
McIlroy, who reached the finals here last year before losing to Hunter Mahan, is also excited about playing his long-time amateur teammate.
"It's pretty cool to think where we've come from," McIlroy said.
The Irish match-up wasn't officially set until Sunday night. Lowry was projected to be the 63rd seed and play Tiger Woods in the first round. But Fredrik Jacobson moved up in the Official World Golf Rankings with his tie for third at the Northern Trust Open, knocking Lowry down to the final seed in the 64-man field.
"Tiger would have been quite daunting," Lowry said. "But I think because I know Rory so well, not that it's going to be an easier match for me, it's going to be easier to stand on that first tee and look Rory in the face and know that I've got a good chance of beating him."
It wouldn't be unprecedented for the 64th seed to knock off the top seed. It's happened three times in this event, including last year when Ernie Els beat Luke Donald.
McIlroy has only played once this year but knows he must shake off the rust right away.
"You can be going home early," he said. "It's great -- it focuses you right away."