You can’t ask for much more from Shane Lowry than what he did on Sunday at the Honda Classic. Had he shot 3-under 67 in the final round and still fallen to Daniel Berger, who began the day with a commanding lead, then no hard feelings.
But Berger blew that advantage, Lowry led for most of the back nine and a bogey-free performance still wasn’t good enough to earn his first Tour win since the 2019 Open Championship.
“Yeah, that's the game unfortunately,” he said after his solo-second-place finish. “I played the golf, good enough golf I felt to win the tournament.”
It was Sepp Straka, however, who prevailed. Straka made birdie on Nos. 14, 16 and 18 to shoot 66 and edge Lowry by a stroke.
Both Lowry and Straka trailed Berger by five shots entering the finale at PGA National and it was Lowry who was in the final twosome, with a front-row seat to Berger’s closing 74.
The Irishman made three birdies over his first 11 holes to grab the outright lead and remained there until Straka tied him with a birdie at the 16th. The two were still knotted on the final hole, when a heavy downpour occurred.
Fortunately for Straka, he had already teed off on the par-5 18th when the heavy rain started falling. That extra distance off the tee allowed him to give it a go with his second shot, which he landed safely on the green. He then two-putted for birdie.
Lowry, meanwhile, was on his way to the 18th tee box when the heavens opened. He hit a squirrely shot to the left and had to lay up to 122 yards. He wasn’t able to get up and down from there to match Straka’s birdie.
“Yeah, it's hard to take, to be honest. Feel like I've got the tournament stolen from me today. You know, he's gone 3 under the last five on this course. I played the golf perfectly to win the tournament, and that's this game sometimes and that's this level,” Lowry said, adding that the rain came at the worst possible time for him.
“[T]he last hole was – that was as bad a break as I've ever got. You know, especially when you're standing on the tee and you see him over that left bunker [off the tee], which I would've been able to do if there was no rain, because I need a drive and a 4- or 5-iron. Probably would've given myself a better chance with a 4.”
Straka hit his tee shot 334 yards. Lowry hit his 241 yards.
Despite not adding to his ’19 Open and ’15 WGC Bridgestone titles, Lowry tried to see the positives as he gets ready for his next start at The Players and the season’s first major, the Masters Tournament in April.
Told by a reporter that the breaks sometimes even out, Lowry responded:
“Hopefully in about five or six weeks in Augusta.”