Michael Burns: proud

Having been immersed in the amateur golf game at top level all his sporting life, Tramore man Michael Burns would like to see Shane Lowry refrain from turning professional until he first plays in the Walker Cup in Pennsylvania next September.

But he considers it unlikely the Offaly youngster will take that option given the financial offers which are inevitable in the wake of his staggering performance in winning the Irish Open at the weekend.

“I would like to see him wait, but I could well understand if he turns pro given the status he now enjoys”, said the man who captained 22-year-old Lowry and the rest of the Irish team to unprecedented success last year – retaining the European Amateur Team Championship in Turin and winning the Home International and Triple Crown in Muirfield.

Michael, among the biggest stars in the amateur game himself for decades, has mentored Lowry over recent years and was in touch with him on Sunday night, amid all the hullabaloo which followed the dramatic, history-making developments at stormy Baltray.

“Naturally, his mind will be in turmoil this week as he comes to a decision which is huge in career terms”, said Michael. “But sooner or later he will be a top professional – he has all the attributes, as has now become evident to golf fans Europe-wide”.

Multi-capped Michael described the new Irish Open Champion as a grounded individual who in golfing terms has the vital ability to grind out a score in the most difficult of circumstances and under the severest of pressure.

“That’s a major plus in the professional game and there’s no doubt he now has both the profile and the talent to become a millionaire in double quick time on the pro circuit”, he asserted.