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Shane Lowry hopes to avenge last year's Honda Classic loss in honor of late uncle

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Just before the Honda Classic's opening round, Shane Lowry received shocking news.

His uncle, Jimmy, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday at 66 years old.

"It's just quite sad, and it's quite hard," Lowry said after Saturday's round. "It's been a difficult week. It's been very difficult not to be there at home for my dad."

Lowry initially wanted to withdraw from the tournament to be with his family in Ireland. However, he was talked out of it. Now, as Lowry dons a green and white ribbon on his cap this week in honor of his uncle, the 35-year-old hopes to make his uncle Jimmy proud with a victory — and he's in a prime position to do so.

After opening the tournament with consecutive 2-under 68s, the 2019 Open champion shot a third-round 65 and sits T-4, four shots off Chris Kirk's lead.

For Lowry, there are shades of deja vu entering the final round at PGA National.

Full-field scores from The Honda Classic

Lowry began the final round of last year's Honda Classic five shots off Daniel Berger's 54-hole lead. However, the Irishman, playing in the final pairing, caught Berger's lead quickly and led most of the back nine. Sepp Straka, though, birdied Nos. 14, 16 and 18 and Lowry went to the 72nd hole needing a birdie to win.

Then, Lowry received what he called "as bad a break as I've ever got." Moments before teeing off on No. 18, it started to downpour. Straka, playing in the group ahead, hit his tee shot 334 yards with no rain. Lowry's went 241 yards.

Despite a bogey-free, final-round 67, Lowry finished runner-up, one stroke behind Straka.

This year, Lowry is a stroke closer to the 54-hole lead than he was in 2022.

Lowry holds plenty of motivation at Honda Classic

Lowry holds plenty of motivation at Honda Classic

"If I can just hang around all day," Lowry said, "hopefully I can give myself a chance coming down the stretch."

Even if he seizes that opportunity, there's one thing Lowry prays doesn't happen tomorrow that is completely out of his control.

"I just hope it doesn't rain tomorrow," the world No. 20 said.

Under clear skies, Lowry will look to catch the leader in the final round for the second straight year in Palm Beach Gardens. Contrary to last year, however, he'll try and hold on for the win if he does so. 

With his uncle watching over him.

"Hopefully, I can go out and make him proud tomorrow," Lowry said. "Everyone keeps telling me how proud he was of me over the last number of years, and hopefully I can do him another day proud tomorrow."