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Padraig Harrington has given one of Ryder Cup captain's picks to his compatriot Shane Lowry.
The 34-year-old Clara man fulfils his dream of playing against the United States and makes his debut in less than a fortnight's time at Whistling Straits.
After a string of strong performances this summer – Lowry made every cut of every tournament he played in since March – the 2019 Open champion had to rely on Harrington choosing him as one of his three wildcard selections after a disappointing end to his BMW PGA Championship bid at Wentworth this afternoon.
Lowry birdied the final two holes for a final round 71 but that was only good enough for tied 17th.
Bernd Wiesberger, who finished tied 20th, overtook Lowry in the automatic qualification standing to guarantee his Ryder Cup debut.
That left Harrington having to choose three from four between Lowry, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose – who has found form in recent weeks – with nine others, including Rory McIlroy, in the Dubliner's team.
Shane Lowry on the second hole during the second round of The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth
(Image: Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Harrington went with Garcia, European's top points scorer, as his first pick and then delivered the news Lowry had been praying for.
"I'm going with a rookie, he's a major championship winner, he's a World Golf Championships winner and nobody thinks of him as a rookie," said Harrington, before revealing Lowry was his man.
"You think there was pressure today, Shane has dealt with that pressure all year, he dealt with it all summer and got himself in there, he's well suited to the golf course and the conditions.
"But his stats are great, they show he is one of our strongest players, and he has everything lined up – he's well liked in the locker room."
Harrington may have been convinced of his friend's ability to deal with the pressure of a Ryder Cup on US soil when they played together in the final round of the US PGA in the summer.
"If I've picked a rookie, he's probably delivered twice as much to get in the team," said the skipper.
"He delivers consistently under pressure on the big stage and it was an easy pick based on his form, can you imagine playing under that stress all summer, being that guy, he has definitely delivered for me and brings enthusiasm into the team.
"We need that and we're going to enjoy the week with him."
Harrington's third pick is the man he describes as "a talisman" – Ian Poulter, who has delivered massive moments in previous Ryder Cups.
Later, Lowry told Sky Sports how Harrington delivered the news to him.
"I was sitting in the Players Lounge with my dad and a couple of friends and everyone was getting a bit antsy and people were calling me and stuff like that," he smiled.
"And I was called over to the office – to the principal's office! – and he gave me a hug and said, 'Congrats'.
"We had a little conversation and it was a very special moment, and it was very special to have my dad there – he's gone off to the airport now but I've got a great picture of the two of us when we both found out.
"So that's pretty cool."
As Lowry says himself, it has been "an amazing" couple of weeks for himself and his family as his wife, Wendy, gave birth to their second child, Ivy, last week.
"I'm just incredibly excited about it," he beamed. "Wendy, Ivy and Iris are sitting at home watching this now – it's just great for everyone and I'm excited to get over there and compete.
Shane Lowry shared the snap of his newborn daughter Ivy
"It's incredible. My phone is absolutely blowing up, all my family and friends are texting me and I'll take a day or two to settle down and then get to work and head over to Whistling Straits and get to work there.
"It's all about playing good golf from here, it's trying to soak it all in for the next couple of days and then get back to work on Tuesday or Wednesday and fly over with the team tomorrow week.
"It's been a career-long goal to get to the Ryder Cup.
"Actually just thinking about it here, I remember sitting in the media centre down here after winning The Open when the points started for the Ryder Cup started and I said that was my number one goal, and it has been for the last two years.
"And obviously Padraig being captain is extra special to me as I'm very good friends with him.
"Look, I'm just so happy that I got a pick. I felt like I tried my best to make the team on the back nine today, things didn't go my way on the back nine but look, I'm so happy that I got named on the team.
"It's been a stressful week and a stressful few hours this evening."
Elaborating on the pressure that was on his shoulders as he looked to make one final statement to Harrington, Lowry admitted that he felt his record before this week in Wentworth was enough to convince his friend.
Padraig Harrington with Shane Lowry
(Image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
But he added: "Then you come here and you see the lads are playing well.
"I love this place and I wanted to win the tournament.
"I was going out there trying to win, trying to make the team and trying to do all sorts – even when I went through a bad run on the back nine, I was like, 'I need to make a couple a birdies because I need to show that I'm made of something here and I need to show that I'm trying my hardest'.
"So I felt like I did a good job, I felt like I did enough and I'm just incredibly happy, incredibly proud of what I achieved – but, for me, there's no point going over there to make up the numbers, I want to deliver points for Europe and bring home the Ryder Cup."
Lowry is one of three rookies to make the team. Asked where does this sit in a career that has already yielded an Irish Open as an amateur and an Open title in Portrush, the Offaly man replied: "Ah, this is right up there.
Ian Poulter and Tommy Fleetwood celebrate victory after the singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France
"I actually spoke to Poults (Poulter) about it a while ago," Lowry told Sky Sports.
"Everyone knows what he thinks about the Ryder Cup and what it means to him, and to see what it means to someone like Ian Poulter and to Sergio, this is going to be a very special week in my career.
"I just hope that I can go there and can win some points for Europe, and that we can win the Cup for Europe – there's no point just going over there to make up the numbers, we want to go there and win.
"I have that in my head and I've said that all year…I want to make it count."
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