Published: Thursday March 7, 2013 MYT 12:09:00 PM
Ireland's Lowry ready to make his mark on USPGA Tour
RIO GRANDE (Puerto Rico): Ireland's Shane Lowry, who upset World No. 1 Rory McIlroy in last month's World Golf Championships Match Play event, is hoping to boost his chances of a USPGA Tour future this week.
Ranked 65th in the world, Lowry is among the top-rated players competing for a US$630,000 top prize in the US$3.5mil Puerto Rico Open, which opens on Thursday at the 7,506-yard, par-72 Trump International Puerto Rico resort.
"I want to play on the PGA Tour as much as I can," Lowry said. "We were lucky enough that we did get an invite. Very grateful for that and hopefully I can make the most of it this week."
Lowry hopes for a solid performance while an elite field of 65 players take part in this week's US$8.5mil WGC event at Doral in Miami, leaving the remainder of the PGA talent pool to chase the title in Puerto Rico.
Lowry went on to reach the third round after beating McIlroy in the first round two weeks ago.
This week he plays his first PGA event that is not a WGC or major and hopes for a top-10 finish to book a spot in next week's PGA Tampa Bay Championship.
"A top 10 would be great to get into next week," he said. "If I can just focus on the first round on Thursday, try and shoot a good couple of scores, get me in contention, come Saturday afternoon and Sunday, you never know."
American George McNeill will defend the title he won by two strokes last year over Ryo Ishikawa, the 21-year-old Japanese star who is back after having a PGA career-best runner-up effort last year.
South Korea's K.J. Choi, at 69th, is also among the top-ranked players in Puerto Rico.
South Korean 17-year-old Kim Si Woo will make his second USPGA start on a sponsor's exemption.
He qualified for the tour last year but cannot play as a PGA Tour member until his 18th birthday in June. - AFP