Lowry keen on PGA Tour - but first it's mini tour action

Rory McIlroy and Shane LowryShane Lowry, pictured here during his match with Rory McIlroy in Tucson, would love to play more on the PGA Tour. Photo: Fran Caffrey / www.golffile.ieShane Lowry wants to build on the impact he made at last week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play and concentrate on establishing a foothold on the PGA Tour over the next 10 weeks.

But for now he’ll have to settle for a mini tour appearance in Florida this week so he remains sharp for next week’s Puerto Rico Open.

According to his agent at Horizon Sports Management, Conor Ridge, the Offaly man’s profile has taken off since he beat Rory McIlroy in the first round at Dove Mountain last week.

“He is keen to play here and focus on that, if he can get the starts, in the short term,” Ridge said. “There is not a whole lot happening on the European Tour between now and the BMW PGA at Wentworth so he can concentrate on trying to play here for the next couple of months and then go back to his regular European Tour schedule.

“It’s a great opportunity for him and we just need to work hard to get him starts because the Accenture Match Play was really huge for his profile over here.”

The world number 62 narrowly failed to make the field this week’s Honda Classic when former Ryder Cup player Vaughan Taylor birdied the final hole in a Monday qualifier at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club to deny him a possible play-off for the last of four spots in this week’s field.

But having secured an invitation for Lowry for next week’s Puerto Rico Open on the PGA Tour - the event is played opposite the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral - Ridge is busy chasing as many US Tour invitations as he can get for the two-time European Tour winner.

“It’s very difficult but we are trying to get him into the Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill, the Shell Houston Open, Valero Texas Open, Transitions… Anything we can get him into,” Ridge said.

With top client and world No 1 Rory McIlroy defending the Honda Classic this week, Horizon tried hard to get Lowry an invitation this week. However, it was always going to be tough for the 25-year old Irish star and they went to the likes of Matteo Manassero, Branden Grace, Paul Casey and David Duval.

Lowry has nevertheless decided to remain in West Palm Beach this week as a guest of friend and former soccer star Stephen Grant.

The Birr native is now a professional golfer and Lowry plans to keep his game sharp by teeing it up alongside his fellow Co Offaly man in a two-day mini tour event on the GolfSlinger.com Tour on Thursday and Friday.

“I’ll play in that and might come up here a couple of days,” Lowry said as he sat down for lunch with his manager at the Honda Classic yesterday. “It’ll be good to keep the game ticking over before Puerto Rico.”