Shane Lowry’s hopes of persuading Darren Clarke he’s worth a Ryder Cup pick suffered another blow when he missed the cut by one in the Travelers in Connecticut — his fourth successive missed cut in the four events he’s played with a cut since the US Open.
The world No 31 was well off the pace at TPC River Highlands, missing too many greens with short irons and holing little as he added a one over 71 to his opening 69 to miss the level par cut by the minimum.
Few would argue that Lowry would not be a fine Ryder Cup player - his driving, his birdie count and his short game prowess show that he’s a class act when he’s on form.
But even the Clara man might have to admit that were he in Clarke’s shoes, he would be hard pressed to justify a pick on current form.
Clarke has all the numbers at his disposal and will have seen that apart from Oakmont, Lowry has just one other top 10 finish to his credit this year.
His PGA Tour statistics do not make great reading either. Apart from strokes gained off the tee (19th) and total driving (10th), his numbers are well below what he would expect.
He’s holed little this year, sneaking into positive numbers for strokes gained putting by the skin of his teeth (.005 for 97th), possibly because he is only 137th for proximity to the hole.
With only the Wyndham Championship and the final counting Made In Denmark to turn things around, one feels that Lowry needs to do something spectacular to win a spot in the team for Hazeltine.
Perhaps the biggest plus is that he formed an excellent partnership with Andy Sullivan in the Royal Trophy in January but that might be stretching this a little.
“I’ve been hard on myself of late and talking myself down a little bit too much,” Lowry wrote on his newspaper column this week. “I need to keep going now and not only talk about going to do it– but going and doing it as well.”
His reaction to his performance in Connecticut was to post an inspirational quote on Twitter.
“Every setback has a major comeback.”
If he needs inspiration on how to recover from setbacks he need only look to his friend, Pádraig Harrington, who overcame the yips to win again on the PGA Tour and looks to be in promising form heading into next week's Olympic Games in Rio.
The 44-year old Dubliner had to grind for a 69 in last night’s second round, squeaking in for the weekend with nothing to spare thanks to two birdies in his last four holes.
Two shots outside the cut mark, he holed a nine footer at the sixth (his 15th), then knocked in a couple of three footers for par at the seventh and eighth before hitting a wedge to four feet at the ninth and making the putt.
Daniel Berger (67), the player Harrington beat in a playoff to win the Honda Classic last year, is tied for the lead on seven under par with South Africa’s Tyrone Van Aswegen (66), Russell Henley (65) and Marc Leishman (68) with Jerry Kelly (70), Robert Garrigus (67), Russell Knox (67) and Patrick Rodgers (66) just one stroke behind.