Lowry and Power on the up af­ter en­cour­ag­ing top-10 fin­ishes

Irish Independent - - Sport | Sport - Brian Keogh

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.”

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