Lowry faces biggest test – seeing the big picture
Shane Lowry after making par on the first hole during the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. on Sunday, June 19, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Darren Carroll

Shane Lowry after making par on the first hole during the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. on Sunday, June 19, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Darren Carroll

There was some good news for the Irish on Denmark on Thursday but none of us was created by Shane Lowry.

Greystones’ Paul Dunne shot a three under 69 as he bids to retain his card and lies tied 22nd, albeit six shots behind leaders Tom Lewis, Joakim Lagergren and Ryder Cup wildcard contender Thomas Pieters of Belgium 

Gary Hurley took advantage of an invitation and birdied three of his last five for a 69 and a share of 31st on two under.

Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin had five bogeys and a double and somehow carded a 72 to be tied 91st with Peter Lawrie, just two outside the cut. 

Even Ryder Cup skipper Darren Clarke had a productive day. While he shot a five over 76, he got to see Pieters make his case for a wildcard with an impressive 62

The big Belgian showed few signs of pressure, posting ten birdies and one bogey to continue his strong recent form, following fourth place in the Olympics and second place in last week’s D+D Real Czech Masters.

Michael Hoey’s bid to keep his card — he’s 175th in the Race to Dubai — suffered as blow with a two over 73.

But it was still hard to find a player who looked as downbeat at Lowry, who needed a win to persuade Clarke he’s worth a wildcard. After he made just one birdie and had 34 putts in a four over 75, that may be just a pipe dream now and he's in danger of missing his fifth cut in six starts since the US Open.

The world No 35 has struggled for any momentum this year and the runner-up finish in the US Open only appears to have added to his sense of frustration.

His performances this year make Paul McGinley’s words last October particularly prophetic.

“It is just a word of caution for everybody jumping on the Shane expectation bandwagon, thinking he is just going to keep going this way. He has a lot of hurdles to jump next year. 

“If this time next year we are in a place where Shane has made the Ryder Cup team, made the Olympics, comfortably kept his card in America and has maybe won another tournament somewhere and stayed in the Top 20 in the world ranking, that will be massive for Shane. 

“That’s his goal. That to me is a realistic opportunity rather than try to shoot for the stars. Then he can look at conquering the world.”

In April, McGinley was saying the same things:

“The thing for Shane is not to get distracted with what could be or might be and just stay in the present and stay very much focused on every individual week, the Ryder Cup will come to him and major wins will come to him and other big tournament wins will come to him once he stays focused on what he is doing and focused and very much in the present, which is what he did at Firestone.
“It is difficult and when you are trying to be a top player in the world like Shane is there are going to be a lot of challenges along the way, there are going to be a lot of bumps on the road and you have got to learn how to deal with those and one of those is the idea of expectation.
“By his own admission he felt the expectation on his shoulders last year after his big win, even after his big performance going into the Open Championship he really felt that he was going to perform well and thought he had too much expectation on his shoulders so he will have learnt from that and dealing with expectation is one of those things that Shane is going to have to find a way of dealing with if he is going to become the player that he wants to be.”

Lowry missed the cut by one on his debut at Augusta National last year but McGinley does not believe that was down to being overawed by the occasion.

“I don’t think there is any tournament in the world that would be overawing for him,” he said. “He has got through that stage of playing in tournaments for the first time and knowing what he is coming back to, he has established himself on the world stage.
“Obviously he hasn’t played Ryder Cup yet, a lot of us think and hope that he is going to make the team this year, if he does he will be a great addition to the team but he knows himself that he has got to perform well over the season.”
"Shane has made incredible progress in a  short space of time from the incredible achievement of winning the Irish Open as an amateur to establish himself in Europe and then to come over her and win one of the biggest events in world golf.
“But a word of warning for Shane - the goal posts have shifted so much for him he has got to make massive decisions going forward that will affect everything related to his golf. 
“Where he is going to base himself? How much he is going to play? How is he going to tackle new venues? 
“It is quite clear that America is going to be a big part of his future. He has the Olympics coming up next year, he has the Ryder Cup coming up. He has to plan his schedule. 
“He has commitments and he won’t just be able to nip home to Offaly every weekend or every Sunday night they way he can on the European Tour. 
“He’s got massive decisions to make in the next six months don top of all that the extra press coverage and extra attention that’s going to be based on that having won such a big tourament.
“I am excited for Shane but I also know that this crossroads in his career with the new doors that open, also provides big challenges as well. 
“To take good decisions going forward is important and he has a good team around him — people who he trusts that had been there a long time.  And I am sure they will help him take the right decisions.”

McGinley said Lowry should be proud of his US Open performance and he's right. 

If a man can dominate the US Open for 68 holes, there's clearly not much wrong and no doubt, his team will help him see the bigger picture. 

There's still a lot to play for this season in the Race to Dubai as well as a World Cup of Golf in Australia. 

Having been forced to miss Rio because of the Zika virus and looking likely now to miss out on the Ryder Cup, the talented Offaly man still has time to make 2016 a significant year in his career and the springboard to bigger and better things rather than a source of regret

With his 30th birthday still eight months away and a huge future in store, he knows that the glass isn't just half full, it's brimming over.