Portugal Masters winner Shane Lowry won’t try to navigate PGA Tour Q-School, after all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t see the Irishman in the States next year.
At No. 74 in the world ranking, he will instead try to crack the top 50 and thereby increase the likelihood that he earns exemptions into the year’s first three majors and each of the World Golf Championship events, which offer significant world-ranking points.
The 25-year-old Lowry, who won on the European Tour for the first time as a pro Sunday, was scheduled to fly to the U.S. for the first stage of Q-School this week. Instead, he has entered next week’s BMW Masters in Shanghai and also earned a spot in the WGC-HSBC Champions the following week.
After Sunday’s victory in Portugal, he told reporters, “I have to see first of all where my world ranking is after today and what tournaments this will get me in for the rest of the year. Probably still will (attempt PGA Tour Q-School). We’ll see from there.”
The top 50 in the world on Dec. 31 earn invitations to The Masters.
For a point of reference, here were the major/WGC cutoff dates for the 2012 season, according to the PGA Tour player handbook:
• WGC-Match Play: Top 64 on Feb. 13
• WGC-Cadillac Championship: Top 50 on Feb. 27
• U.S. Open: Top 60 on May 21
• British Open: Top 50 on May 20
• WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Top 50 on July 23