Lowry enters rankings
Irish amateur new entry at 168 following fairytale success
Last Updated: 19/05/09 1:25pm
Lowry: Having a think about it
New Irish Open champion Shane Lowry has been installed at number 168 in the world rankings.
The rankings were published one day after the 22-year-old amateur scored a fairlytale success in his home event in County Louth.
After only one appearance on the European Tour, Lowry has therefore already moved above the likes of Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie, Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn.
Having defeated Robert Rock in a sudden-death playoff on Sunday, the big question now is whether Lowry will join the pro ranks.
The fact that second-placed Rock picked up the £438,000 winner's cheque will surely be a mitigating factor with close friend Rory McIlroy also suggesting that Lowry should take the plunge.
However, the plus five handicapper is also a member of the squad from which the Walker Cup side to face the United States in September will be picked.
Captain Colin Dalgleish said that, with a two-year exemption from the European Tour now on the table, Lowry has plenty of time to reach a decision.
"It remains to be seen and we will live with whatever he decides, but the exemption allows Shane to take his time," he said.
"He can now turn pro on his terms and I am very hopeful that he will play the Walker Cup. It has a great profile in America."
Speaking of his dilemma in the immediate aftermath of his success, Lowry said: "I am going to have to think about it.
"I am sure I will have a call from Colin and I will have to speak to other people to see what they think. But I'd be mad not to consider going pro.
"I still can't believe it, though. It's going to take a long time to sink in. I know my life is about to change forever - that's what I was hoping for.
"I'm in shock more than anything else. I got the invite and I would have been happy to make the cut, but then I shot that 62."
Friday's round, which equalled the record for an amateur on the tour, shot Lowry to the top of the leaderboard.
He shared the lead with Rock after the third round and entered the play-off having missed a four-foot putt for victory at the last.
Rock failed with a nine-footer at the first hole of sudden death and then stayed alive with a putt of the same distance on the next.
However, Lowry's par five at the third hole saw him join Spain's Pablo Martin and New Zealander Danny Lee in winning European Tour titles as amateurs.
Comparing the three, Dalgleish added: "You'd have to say that Shane's victory was the biggest.
"To win your own national Open is quite something. It was unbelievable, it really was. We knew he was hugely talented, but this was absolutely fairytale stuff.
"To have shot a 62 (it equalled the lowest ever by an amateur on the circuit) and to have basically led from the second round onwards was simply stunning."