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Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 14:27 UK

Lowry opts to turn professional

Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry celebrates after his victory in the Irish Open

Ireland's Shane Lowry has announced that he is turning professional, just four days after his surprise triumph at the Irish Open.

The 22-year-old will make his debut in the European Open in Kent, on 28 May.

He said: "I feel this [decision] will give me the greatest chance of becoming the best player I can be."

Lowry had to turn down a first prize of just under £500,000 at Baltray where he became only the third amateur to win a European Tour event.

His Irish Open success gives Lowry a two-year Tour exemption.

He added: "There is a tinge of sadness for me leaving my amateur career behind.

"I'm fully aware that playing against some of the greatest players in the world on a weekly basis, will be new territory for me and it will be a difficult challenge.

"However I am confident it is something I am ready for."

BBC Sport's Iain Carter

Lowry's decision is a blow to Britain and Ireland Walker Cup captain Colin Dalgleish, who had hoped the County Offaly player would stay amateur to play in September's match against the Americans.

Lowry could have dived straight into this week's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, but instead announced he was taking time out to consider his future.

Until the Portuguese Open two years ago no amateur had won a Tour event.

Spaniard Pablo Martin changed that and then three months ago New Zealander Danny Lee, winner last year of the US Amateur title, captured the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia.

Martin turned professional two months after his victory and so did Lee, who earned himself a place in The Masters at Augusta and could not take that unless he stayed amateur.

Lowry's appearance in the Irish Open was his first ever start in a professional event and in Friday's second round he fired a superb 10-under-par 62, matching the lowest ever round by an amateur on the circuit.

He clinched victory at Baltray after a play-off with England's Robert Rock.

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see also
Lowry secures Irish Open victory
17 May 09 |  Golf
Lowry stays top in Irish Open
16 May 09 |  Golf
Amateur Lowry on top in Ireland
15 May 09 |  Golf
Molinari & Hoey are disqualified
15 May 09 |  Golf
McDowell shoots course record 61
15 May 09 |  Golf
Molinari takes lead after record
14 May 09 |  Golf

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