Lowry and Power on the up after encouraging top-10 finishes
SHANE LOWRY heads into this week’s PGA Championship with a spring in his step after recording his first top-10 on the PGA Tour since The Open in Sunday’s WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis.
Despite driving into water at the last, the Clara man (33) salvaged a brilliant par to close with a 67, hitting a 184-yard approach to 20 inches to finish tied sixth behind new world No 1 Justin Thomas and boost his chances of making the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
After carding four straight rounds in the sixties for the first time on the
PGA Tour since last year’s Canadian Open, Lowry’s top-10 finish was his first on the US circuit since his epic Open Championship win at Royal Portrush.
As a result, he jumps from 149th to 130th in the FedEx Cup standings with only the top 125 after next week’s Wyndham Championship qualifying for the first Playoff event, the Northern Trust at TPC Boston from August 20-23.
The Offaly man will be joined in the Wyndham Championship by West Waterford’s Seamus Power, who was thrilled to extend his season by snatching a top-10 finish in the opposite-field Barracuda
Championship in California.
Power (33) was only fourth reserve for the Wyndham Championship but his tie for ninth in the modified stableford event in the Sierra Nevada earned him an automatic place in the final regular-season event before the Playoffs.
“Thanks @CudaChamp for a great week in Truckee,” Power wrote on Twitter, tweeting a video of his 20-footer lipping in for birdie on the final hole on Sunday. “Handy lip in on the last means my season continues to the @WyndhamChamp in a couple of weeks.”
Power is playing with a conditional card this season having finished 143rd in the FedEx Cup standings last year. He is guaranteed the same status next season due to the coronavirus stoppage but now has a chance to improve it.
After moving up to 161st in the FedEx Cup standings, he could regain his full card if he finishes in the top four in the Wyndham Championship and makes the top 125 who contest the Playoffs.
He missed out on a place in the US Open which went to winner Richy Werenski and runner-up Troy Merritt and will have to watch this week’s PGA Championship on television.
The bookies have installed Justin
Thomas as the joint 9/1 favourite to lift his second Wanamaker Trophy this week after he impressively held off Brooks Koepka and the chasing pack to win by three shots and knock Jon Rahm off the top of the world rankings.
Koepka is the other joint favourite ahead of 12/1 shot Rory McIlroy and he’s bullish about his chances of a third successive PGA Championship win this week.
“I feel good. I feel like my game’s right there,” Koepka said.
“This is where we wanted to be, peaking for the PGA. I feel like my game’s right there, everything’s solid.”