Shock Irish Open winner Shane Lowry confirmed today that he will make his professional debut on the European Tour in next week’s European Open at The London Club.
Lowry, who will officially take out membership with the PGA European Tour in the coming days, has spent the week at home in his native County Offaly reflecting on his dramatic win at County Louth Golf Club.
He said: "Last week was my first time ever playing in a European Tour event, which was a new experience for me. If I’m being honest, I genuinely did feel that I had the game to have a good week and gain some good experience to build on, with a view to turning professional later in the summer.
"However, to go and win the tournament and leave Baltray on Sunday evening with the Irish Open trophy and the option of a 2-year exemption on the European Tour, was certainly beyond my expectations
“Obviously winning on Sunday has forced me to re-assess my career goals in the short-term and I have had a lot to think about this week. I have spent the past few days discussing the options open to me with my family, close friends and coach – Neil Manchip.
“As you know, my goal had been to qualify for the Walker Cup team in September, and turn professional after that. However, I have now decided to turn professional immediately, as I feel that this will give me the greatest chance of becoming the best player I can be in the future.
"My Irish Open win has provided me with a unique opportunity to ease myself into the professional game by playing in some of the biggest tournaments in Europe over the coming months, with a view to preparing myself for the 2010 European Tour season. I can now go out on Tour under no pressure and just concentrate on playing golf and enjoying the whole experience. I am really looking forward to just getting out there and playing now.
"While I have had a lot to take on board since Sunday, I am confident that I am making the right decision for my career. I like to think of this opportunity as ‘career changing’ as opposed to ‘life changing’. I am fully aware of the fact that playing against some of the greatest players in the world as a professional on a weekly basis, will be new territory for me and it will be a difficult challenge, however I am confident that it is something I am ready for.
"Furthermore, I feel that I have the right team around me to guide me through this important stage of my career”. Lowry concluded, “There is a tinge of sadness for me leaving my amateur career behind, as I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Irish National team and GUI set up. I am lucky to have had so many great times growing up playing amateur golf in Ireland. Irish golf – both amateur and professional – is in undeniably good health at the moment, and the GUI should be commended and congratulated for the role it has played in this. These are exciting times for Irish golf and I am proud to be a part of this great success story.
"I dedicate my Irish Open title to the Golfing Union of Ireland who have looked after me extremely well and given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams. On a personal level, I would also like to thank Neil Manchip my coach and close friend. Neil has had a huge influence on the way I play golf and he is the first person I turn to in relation to anything to do with my game or career. It meant a lot to me to have both Neil and my family on the 18th green last Sunday.
"Lastly, I would like to thank the Irish Sports Council who have committed to providing me with grant funding through the Team Ireland Golf Trust scheme. Being a part of the Team Ireland Golf Trust will allow me to do things properly from the very start and will give me the best chance to establish myself on Tour during my fledgling days as a tournament professional."