Feb. 28, 2022 Staff Report
Shane Lowry was left to rue what he considered the worst break of his golfing career Sunday as the Offaly man fell just short of clinching the Honda Classic in Florida.
Lowry, who was aiming for a first tour victory since his 2019 Open Championship win, led for most of the back nine and shot a bogey-free card but was pipped at the post by Sepp Straka – who became the first Austrian player to win a PGA Tour event.
Lowry was tied for the lead at 9-under par as he reached the 18th tee box but Straka — who Lowry was sharing the lead with — had just fired a massive 334-yard drive on the par-5 finishing hole.
Then, the rain suddenly turned into a heavy downpour.
Straka put his second shot on the green for an eagle putt while Lowry pulled his tee shot only 241 yards into the left rough.
Straka narrowly missed his eagle putt, but tapped in for birdie to reach 10 under.
Lowry was then forced to lay up and hit his third shot to 43 feet and was unable to make the birdie putt, settling for solo second.
“It’s hard to take, to be honest,” Lowry said afterward.
“I feel like I’ve got the tournament stolen from me today. I played the golf perfectly to win the tournament, and that’s this game sometimes and that’s this level.”
“That was as bad a break as I’ve ever got. Especially when you’re standing on the tee and you see him over that left bunker, which I would’ve been able to do if there was no rain.”
Lowry climbed 15 spots to 35th in the Official World Golf Ranking with Sunday’s runner-up finish and now has five consecutive top-25 finishes worldwide.
After an even-par 70 in his opening round, Lowry posted three consecutive 67s at the Champion course at PGA National. He was left hoping the breaks would fall his way in the U.S. Masters in April.
“Look, it is what it is. It’s a great week for me,” he said.
“I’m very happy where my game is at. It’s a really nice week to take into The Players now.”
“Like the next 24 hours will be tough, but my kids are here and my family. I’ll get on with my life tomorrow and I’ll be fine.”
Meanwhile, the challenge of Daniel Berger — who led by six shots with 19 holes left in the tournament — collapsed Sunday. His round of 74 left him 7 under for the week and three shots behind Straka.