"It's hard to take... feel like I've got the tournament stolen from me today" - Shane Lowry
"The next 24 hours will be tough, but my kids are here and my family. I'll get on with my life tomorrow and I'll be fine."
Shane Lowry was trying his damnedest to find the positives after going from underdog to favourite, at the Honda Classic, only for a late belt of torrential rain to severely affect his chances.
The Offaly native had started the final round of the tournament, in Florida, five shots off leader Daniel Berger. Lowry was in the final group with the American and was hoping to put as much pressure on with a strong closing 18.
As it transpired, Berger had a calamitous final round of +4 and Lowry was already tied for the lead after six holes. His round got off to a fine start with a birdie, and he was well placed for the trophy, and the $1.4m first prize cheque.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 27, 2022
"It's hard to win out here" - Shane Lowry
Lowry has not won a title since lifting the Claret Jug at The Open in 2019. He went close at the Abu Dhabi Championship, earlier this month, but looked to have taken that extra step at the Honda Classic.
Then, two things happened. First up, Austria's world number 176 Sepp Straka got hot. He finished with three birdies in his last five holes to post a clubhouse score of -10. Secondly, a torrential wallop of rain moved in.
Lowry and Berger were sizing up the 17th when an almighty drop of rain came up the course. You could see that both men were trying to wait to see if it was a passing shower, but they eventually had to take their approaches to the 17th. Lowry needed a good chip and putt to get his par, and was left with the 18th to get a birdie that would force a playoff with Straka.
In the end, the rain lengthened the course as drives and approaches were getting caught up. Lowry was not able to go for the final green, left himself a wedge to the green but then missed a lengthy birdie attempt and had to settle for a par and solo second place. Berger went for broke but only found the water and ended up three back from Straka on -7.
Following the tournament, Shane Lowry was crestfallen. "That's the game, unfortunately," he told reporters.
"I played the golf, good enough golf I felt to win the tournament. That bad weather came in just as we were hitting our tee shot on 18, which was as bad a break as I've got in a while."
"It's hard to take, to be honest," he added. "Feel like I've got the tournament stolen from me today. You know, he's gone -3 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.
"He finished well. Yeah, the 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, which I would've been able to do if there was no rain, because I need a drive and a 4- or 5-iron."
Up next for Lowry is The Player Championship and he is hopeful his form holds for that, and then on to official 'major season'.
When a reporter, at the end of his press briefing, remarked that 'the breaks even out', Lowry responded, "Hopefully in about five or six weeks [at the Masters] in Augusta."