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PGA Tour: Austin Eckroat eases to maiden title at Cognizant Classic as Shane Lowry falters on final day

Austin Eckroat secures spots in The Players and The Masters after three-shot win over Erik van Rooyen and Min Woo Lee; Shane Lowry and England's David Skinns in the group tied-fourth after Monday finish in Florida

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Highlights from day five of the Cognizant Classic in South Florida

Austin Eckroat registered his breakthrough PGA Tour victory with a three-shot victory at the Cognizant Classic, as Shane Lowry’s hopes faded during a weather-delayed final round.

Eckroat took a one-shot advantage into the fifth day at PGA National, where the tournament had been dragged into a fifth day after Sunday's rain delay, with the American never leaving the top of the leaderboard as he closed out an impressive victory.

The 25-year-old started the day on 15 under and with 11 holes to play, with Eckroat mixing three birdies with a lone bogey during the remainder of his round to close a final-round 67 and complete his first PGA Tour title.

Eckroat finished three ahead of Min Woo Lee and Erik van Rooyen, who had set the overnight clubhouse target after a brilliant eight-under 63, while Lowry could only finish tied-fourth after a frustrating final-round 71.

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Shane Lowry's chances of winning the Cognizant Classic came crashing down after a double bogey at the 15th hole, leading to a frustrated air kick!

Disappointing day for Lowry

Eckroat gave the chasing pack hope when he squandered birdie opportunities on his first two holes of the day, the eight and ninth, then failed to take advantage of the par-five tenth after pitching over a bunker with his third shot to inside eight feet.

The 25-year-old took control when back-to-back birdies from the 12th gave him a three-shot advantage, with Eckroat then responding to a bogey at the 14th by rolling in from 12 feet at the 16th to move back to 17 under.

Two-putt pars over his final two holes were enough to secure Eckroat victory in his 50th PGA Tour start, with the win securing him an invite to The Masters and making him full exempt to the end of the 2026 season.

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Image: Austin Eckroat claimed a maiden PGA Tour title with a three-shot win

"I'm just really happy," Eckroat told Golf Channel. "I'm happy with how I played the Bear Trap - it's not a fun finish whenever you have to hold onto the lead! I'm just really happy with how I handled it."

Lee had threatened a victory charge when he followed a birdie-eagle run around the turn by picking up a shot at the par-four 12th, only to par each of his final six holes and settle for a share of second.

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Lowry came into Monday three behind and kept himself in the hunt when he holed from 15 feet to save par at the seventh, only to fail to get up and down from the sand at the eighth and miss a birdie opportunity at the ninth.

The Irishman opened his back nine with a two-putt birdie but bogeyed the next after finding water off the next tee, then undid birdies at the 12th and 14th by finding water again off the par-three 15th tee on his way to a costly double-bogey.

Shane Lowry reacts to his shot from the fourth tee during the final round of the Cognizant Classic golf tournament, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
Image: Shane Lowry was looking for his first PGA Tour title since winning The Open in 2019

Lowry rolled in from 25 feet at the 16th and added a birdie at the par-five last, seeing him finish on 13 under alongside K.H Lee, Cameron Young, last week's Mexico Open Jake Knapp and Englishman David Skinns.

Scotland's Martin Laird posted a two-under 69 to end in the large group tied-ninth, while Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick - who both finished their final rounds on Sunday - ended the week on 10 under and in tied-21st.

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Rory McIlroy felt he played much better than his final position suggested at the Cognizant Classic, with his driving stats a real source of encouragement

What's next?

The PGA Tour stays in Florida for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler feature. Early coverage begins from Bay Hill on Thursday at 12.30pm, with full coverage from 7pm. Stream the PGA Tour and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - just £21 a month for 12 months. No contract, cancel anytime.

Anthony Joshua's heavyweight showdown with Francis Ngannou takes place on Friday March 8, live on Sky Sports Box Office with the main event expected around 11pm. Book Joshua vs Ngannou now!

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