By Matt Smith
Shane Lowry has had quite a year, with a return to form taking him back to a career high of No. 16 in the world, thanks in no small part to his success at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September.

The big Irishman also still has a chance of reeling in seven players and claiming the season-long Rankings race this week at the year-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Just one thing — the 2019 Open Championship winner does not know the permutations that would vault him to the top of the standings at Jumeirah Golf Estates this week.

“It’s great to have that chance,” the 35-year-old said on Tuesday. “To be honest, I’m not 100 per cent sure what I need to do. Obviously you come here and you want to just do well in the tournament, give yourself a chance on Sunday to win the tournament.

“If everything else stacks up the way I need it to, that will be great as well. It’s been a good year. I obviously don’t play too many events on the DP World Tour anymore. I play as much as I can, and to be up here giving myself a chance to win, it’s pretty nice.”

Lowry had had a long wait before his return to the winner’s circle at Wentworth, but he insists his form had been good for a while before that eventual victory.

“I feel like I’d had a good year up till then at the BMW but it started to become quite frustrating because I obviously wanted to win so badly,” he added. “It had been a while since I won. And to get over the line in a place like Wentworth in a tournament like that is just right up there with them.”

Lowry has had 10 top-10 finishes on the Earth Course at JGE, and he is the first to admit that it plays to his strengths.

“The greens are quite big, so you hit a lot of greens,” he said. “But I think you need to hit it into the right portions of the greens to not leave yourself big long putts over slopes. I think your iron play needs to be quite precise, and mine is. The rough this week is as bad as I’ve ever seen it. So off the tee this week, you’ll have to be quite good as well. If I hit enough fairways, I think I’ll have a chance.”

Lowry is around 1,600 points behind leader Rory McIlroy in eighth spot in the Rankings standings, but with 2,000 points on offer for the winner at this $10 million Rolex Series event, he knows it can be done.

“There are certain markers that you want to achieve when you start out the season and this is one of them: make the top 50 in Europe and come here and do as well as you can,” he said. “I’m very fortunate that I’m here with a chance to actually win the whole thing.

“When you read the names on the trophy … to put your name alongside those, that would be pretty nice to do that. That’s certainly a goal in the future. If I do something pretty special this week, you never know.”

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