Ireland’s Shane Lowry believes his breakthrough win on the PGA Tour will kick-start the next level of his career.
The 28-year-old admits his frustration at not being able to turn what he felt was good form into tangible results was starting to get him down.
However, a flawless final-round 66 saw him hold off the challenge of double Masters champion Bubba Watson, with former US Open winners Justin Rose and Jim Furyk to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by two shots.
That earned him a two-year exemption on the American tour and eligibility for the lucrative end-of-season FedEx Cup play-offs.
“I can’t believe it. I’ve been playing good most of the year and things just haven’t been going my way,” said the Offaly man, who recorded two of his three top-10s this season at the US Open and prestigious BMW Championship.
“I’ve missed a couple of cuts by a shot and I was getting very down on myself. It’s great to be able to pull something off. I know it will stay with me now for the rest of my career and hopefully I’ve got a long career ahead of me.
“I’ve got a good exemption in Europe, a good exemption on the PGA Tour as well so the future looks okay as of now. Obviously the Irish Open (which he won as an amateur in 2009) got my career kick-started but I think this is getting the next stage of my career kick-started now hopefully.
“This is going to give me the confidence to drive on now and win more events and hopefully the floodgates will open. I’m definitely going to try to play both tours. I definitely want to play over here (United States) more.
“The Olympics and the Ryder Cup are two big things on my list next year. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”
Lowry’s participation in the WGC event, open to the world’s top 50, was a close-run thing as he could have been knocked out of contention had some high-profile rivals had a good week just ahead of the qualification deadline.
But he scraped in and now has shot up to 19th in the rankings.
“I’ve been in and around top 50 in the world and trying to compete in events and missed a couple of big cuts by a shot or two this year, which is a bit disappointing as I was never too far away,” he added.
“I was [ranked] 48 the week of Canada and Switzerland, with the cut-off the following Monday.
“There were three players – G Mac (Graeme McDowell), Tommy Fleetwood and Luke Donald – that could have knocked me out if they had decent weeks but I stayed at 48th.
“I’ve achieved a lot of goals so far this year: PGA Tour card, another win, well inside the top 50 in the world – I’m looking forward to the next few months.”