Lowry - quickest Scratch Cup holder to turn pro

Shane Lowry, the golfing sensation from Clara and holder of the Mullingar Scratch Cup turned professional yesterday (May 21 ) and will make his debut in next week's European Open at the London Club in Kent.

The 22-year-old stunned the sport last week in his first-ever Tour event when he beat eight of the world's top 50 golfers and 21 of the top 100 in lifting the Irish Open title at Baltray links in Co Louth.

It made Lowry only the third amateur ever to land a title on the circuit, and despite Walker Cup captain Colin Dalgleish's hopes that he would not turn pro until after September's match with the Americans, he has decided not to wait.

Lowry, whose win gave him a two-year exemption from qualifying for the European Tour, becomes a stablemate of Northern Ireland's Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell and England's Ross Fisher - next week's defending champion - with the Dublin-based agents, Horizon Sports Management.

His victory at the weekend was a Boys' Own- classic tale, when he won the prestigious title on the third play-off hole, after missing an easy three-footer to win it on the 18th.

On Friday he fired a 10-under-par 62, which equalled the lowest ever Tour round by an amateur, and took the halfway lead.

He shared top spot with England's Robert Rock with a round to go before the nailbiting denouement saw the local hero tap in and be engulfed by fans.

Lowry's amateur status meant he could not accept the first prize of nearly £440,000, which automatically went to the second-placed Rock, but next week he will be competing for a £300,000 winner's cheque.


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