Shane Lowry confident he will take some stopping in Abu Dhabi

The Irishman was once again in fine form around the National course in the UAE capital. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2019
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Shane Lowry confident he will take some stopping in Abu Dhabi

  • Irishman Lowry leads by one shot after gritty round in UAE capital.
  • Westwood and Oosthuizen in hot pursuit at Rolex event.

LONDON: For the second day in a row it was a case of catch me if you can at the
Abu Dhabi Golf Championship as Shane Lowry remained on top of the leaderboard.
The Irishman shot a record-equalling 62 in the first round to make a statement of intent in the UAE capital. He followed that up with a more sedate two-under 70 yesterday to stay out in front on
12-under, a shot ahead of South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and Richard Sterne.
Having made such a great start, Lowry knew he had to keep his concentration and that if he hung in there, he would stay ahead of the rest of the field.
“I’m really happy with that,” the world No.75 said.
“I knew today was going to be a bit of a weird day after shooting such a low score (on Wednesday). 
“I just tried to go out and play like I played. To be honest, right from the start, I really feel like I played pretty well today. I think
I gave myself a lot of chances.
“Some of the shots early on were pretty horrendous. I battled back and hit some really nice shots out there, and hit some in close and made some birdies. I was happy with myself.”
Lowry has had a patchy run of form over the past 12 months, with only three top 10 finishes in 2018. But on the National course he has looked back to his best. Yesterday he showed grit and determination to bounce back from two bogeys in the first three holes. He fired in four birdies over the remaining holes to stay on top of the leaderboard.
And Lowry claimed he is in the sort of form that will make it tough for his rivals to catch him.
“I am happy to be in the lead going into the weekend,” he said.
“My iron play is good and playing the par-3s very well. I am happy with where my game is at and I am looking forward to the weekend.
“This is a huge event and it would be nice to get off to a good start, get some Race to Dubai points on the board and kick on from there.”
If Lowry is to stay ahead of the impressive field and win his first title since the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he will have to hold off the challenge of a revitalized Lee Westwood. The former world No. 1 backed up his opening 66 with a four-under 68 to lie two shots back. The Englishman won the Nedbank Challenge — like the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, one of the eight events that make up the cash-rich Rolex series — in December and has looked close
to his brilliant best over the first two rounds.
A good showing in the UAE will help him get back into the world top 50 and into the Majors, one of Westwood’s aims for the year.
Also showing the sort of form that made him one of the best golfers in the world was Oosthuizen. The former Open champion shot a four-under 68 to lie on 11-under going into the final two rounds, and he is looking forward to trying to chase down Lowry.
“Trying to win any event and going into the weekend really close, it’s always exciting,” the South African world No. 26 said.


Ronaldo ‘committed to Juve despite Champions League flop’

Updated 19 April 2019
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Ronaldo ‘committed to Juve despite Champions League flop’

  • Cristiano is the future of Juventus. says Juve coach

MILAN: Cristiano Ronaldo is committed to Juventus next season despite his bitter disappointment at the Italian giants Champions League flop, coach Massimiliano Allegri revealed on Friday.

Allegri’s injury-hit side hosts Fiorentina on Saturday needing just a point to lift their eighth straight Serie A title, days after a shock home 2-1 defeat to the Dutch side that saw them eliminated 3-2 on aggregate.

“Cristiano is the future of Juventus. He has done very well this year and will do so next season, of course he is disappointed like all of us but he’s calm about it,” said Allegri.

“Cristiano has had an extraordinary season and will play tomorrow.”

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo had been bidding for a sixth Champions League title to add to his four won with Real Madrid and one with Manchester United.

The 34-year-old joined Juventus from Real last summer in a 100 million-euro ($117 million) deal which runs until 2022, with a reported annual salary of 31 million euros.

He scored six of his teams’ 14 Champions League goals this season and has 19 so far in Serie A, four behind leading scorer Fabio Quagliarella.

“Ronaldo’s arrival did not give us any certainty of winning the Champions League,” continued Allegri.

“Barcelona play a semifinal this year for the first time after four years and they have (Lionel) Messi. Football is not just about individuals.

“We have to put the disappointment of the elimination in the Champions League behind us.”

Injuries have hit Juve hard ahead of the weekend’s clash, with Sami Khedira announcing that he is set to have season-ending knee surgery, while Allegri revealed that key attacker Mario Mandzukic could also miss the rest of the season.

“(Goalkeeper) Mattia Perin is out until the end of the season, as is Sami Khedira and maybe Mario Mandzukic.” he said.

Meanwhile striker Paulo Dybala will be out for three weeks and Douglas Costa and Jose Caceres for 10 days each, while defender Giorgio Chiellini could be back for next week’s trip to Inter Milan.

However with a 17-point lead over Napoli Allegri’s side are almost certainties to lift their 35th league title as they cement their domestic dominance despite continental disappointment.

“The eighth consecutive Scudetto is a source of pride for everyone. Once it’s sealed we all have to enjoy it, it wouldn’t make sense not to celebrate it.”