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Shane Lowry more convinced than ever he can win a Major

Shane Lowry walks off the 18th green after the final round of the US Open at Oakmont Country Club last Sunday
Picture by AP 
Brian Keogh

SHANE LOWRY was shattered by his US Open loss, but he's now more convinced than ever that he can win a major.

The Offaly star, 29, is on the brink of breaking into the European Ryder Cup team after his share of second place at Oakmont catapulted him to 10th in the race for nine automatic places in Darren Clarke's European side.

While Graeme McDowell also made a move as he shared 18th place and climbed to 16th in the World Points List, Lowry's finish gives him a great chance of making the team for Hazeltine via the world rankings. But while was still trying to come to terms with what happened on Sunday and how he lost a four-shot lead with a round to go, carding a 76 to finish three shots behind Dustin Johnson on one under par.

"When I look back on this week, there will be a lot of positives to take from it, second place at the US Open, my best ever finish in a major, good World Ranking points this week," said Lowry, who moved up 16 spots in the world rankings to 21st after earning 43.33 points.

"I've got more ahead for me now, and I feel like I'm hitting form at the right time. Hopefully, I can go back to Bridgestone and make a good show in my defense there. Then I've got obviously The Open and the PGA as well."?

Lowry is just 11.1 ranking points behind Andy Sullivan and depending on the number of rookies in the automatic places, he could give Clarke pause for thought if he needs a wildcard. As for McDowell, he needs a big finish somewhere soon to make Clarke's team with next week's 100th Open de France top of his hit-list.

"The French Open is a big one on the radar, double Ryder Cup points, and a fantastic field there on a golf course I really like,"? said McDowell, who won back to back at Le Golf National in 2013 and 2014.

"I'm taking some really good form into it. Not trying to put any pressure on myself. I do have a lot to do. I'm trying to stay patient. I'm trying to stay open minded."

Almost certain to qualify for The Open and set for France and Scotland too, McDowell added: "Hopefully, I can just stay patient and keep playing the way I'm playing and let some good stuff get in the way. I'm looking forward to it. Quite enjoying my golf at the minute."

McDowell already has a major and Lowry is looking forward to putting himself in position to win one again. The highlight for the bearded Clara man was his performance on Saturday, when he played 32 holes in three under par to take the lead, eventually extending it to four shots by picking up two shots in the last four holes of his delayed round on Sunday morning.

"I've never felt so comfortable on a golf course in my life,"? he said of Saturday's exhibition.

"So whatever in the zone is, I was there. I needed to play well today, and it let me down at the end. I was proud of myself, the way I played this week. It was great to come here and contend, to have my dad and my brother and one of my best friends here. It's great to be in the position I was in today, and I hope I get myself in there quite a few times."

As for the difficulty of leading a major on the final day, he admitted that having six hours between the end of his third round and the start of the final round was very tough indeed. He said: "Those few hours were very tough. I was quite restless. I tried to go for a kip and could't get to sleep.

"It wasn't ideal but that is the way it is."

Admitting that he hit a lot of okay shots but not enough great shots,? he added: "These are the days you learn from. Dustin Johnson has been in my shoes now a lot of times so he deserves one.

"I will come back from this. I know I will give myself a chance again some time."

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