- Lowery ties for third in best performance of 2023
- McIIroy back to fitness
- Wildcard pick and World Number Two give Donald a boost
Shane Lowery and Rory McIlroy can both take positives from their performances at the Horizon Irish Open at the K Club, but it was Sweden’s Vincent Norrman who claimed victory, shooting a final round 65. It was a great day for Norrman, who recorded only his second professional win, his only previous victory came in the US two months ago when he secured the Barbasol Championship, which is jointly sanctioned by both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour.
However, Lowery´s return to form and McIlroy’s return to fitness after a back injury will give European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald a massive boost with the famous trophy set to be contested at the end of the month.
Lowery shows his class after wildcard pick
Lowery’s resurgence came amidst scrutiny over his Ryder Cup wildcard selection, owing to a relatively inconsistent 2023.
The 2019 Open champion expressed his satisfaction with his performance, particularly highlighting his improved iron play. He finished the tournament at an impressive 12 under par, a testament to his skill and determination.
McIIroy fitness boost
McIlroy, ranked second in the world after a consistent 2023, demonstrated moments of brilliance throughout the tournament. Despite grappling with some errant swings, McIlroy’s accuracy off the tee and his recovery from a recent back injury are positive signs for the Northern Irishman. However, a few costly mistakes, including finding the water on the final day, ultimately put him five shots behind Norrman.
McIlroy acknowledged his struggles on specific holes but remains optimistic about his overall performance. He now looks ahead to rectifying these issues as he prepares for upcoming tournaments, including the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and, of course, the Ryder Cup.
Europe’s captain Donald will clearly be pleased with Lowery’s performance and McIlroy’s return to fitness. The European team met late on Sunday night in Rome prior to spending Monday scouting the Marco Simone course that will stage the Ryder Cup. It was an important chance to recce the course, Lowery has stated that he, for instance, has never seen the venue. With all of the European team, captain and vice-captains present it was also a chance to forge some team spirit ahead of the tournament.
Europe will bid to regain the Ryder Cup in Rome from September 29 – October 1.
Europe’s chances boosted as Lowery finds his form and McIlroy proves himself fit
The United States remain favourites to land the famous trophy, however, if Lowery can play to his potential again after an indifferent year and if McIlroy is clear of his back problem and is firing on all cylinders then the chances of Donald’s side springing a surprise will increase. Europe have home advantage and this could help them close the gap on Team USA who, on paper, have, with the greatest of respect, more quality. At the time of writing, both bet365 and BetVictor have the USA at 4/5, Europe at 5/4 with a draw at 12/1. To lift the trophy (should it be a draw then the holders retain the cup), Europe are again currently 5/4 with the USA 8/13.