Shane Lowry's Ryder Cup hopes fade after opening 75 at Made In Denmark event

Shane Lowry has struggled since losing a four-shot lead on the final day of the US Open in June
Shane Lowry's recent struggles continued in Denmark on Thursday

Shane Lowry's hopes of being handed a captain's pick for Europe's Ryder Cup team faded further as he hit an opening 75 at the Made In Denmark event.

Lowry opted to miss this week's opening Play-Offs event on the PGA Tour in an effort to impress European skipper Darren Clarke.

However, the Offaly man's 75 left him 13 shots off the pace in Farso.

Lowry is sharing 131st spot as his poor form since wasting a chance to win the US Open in June continued.

After starting on the 10th, the Irishman carded four bogeys in five holes from the 12th and his only birdie of the round came at the third.

Even victory in Denmark would not be enough to earn Lowry an automatic spot in Clarke's team, with the top nine qualifiers already now decided.

Clarke is being tipped to hand wild cards to Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer with Russell Knox and Belgian Thomas Pieters likely to be among the candidates for the other captain's pick.

Pieters, runner-up at last week's Czech Masters, did his prospects of catching Clarke's eye no harm as his opening nine-under-par 62 left him in a share of the lead with former Northern Ireland Open winner Sweden's Joakim Lagergren and England's Tom Lewis.

Lewis was on course to card the first sub-60 round in European Tour history after moving to 12 under after 13 holes on Friday before suffering three late bogeys.

Ardglass player Cormac Sharvin, making a rare European Tour start, was two under with two holes to play before a bogey on the 17th was followed by two more dropped shots at the last as he signed for a 72.

Michael Hoey's hopes of retaining his tour card were not helped by a two-over 73 which included six bogeys.

Hoey is currently 175th in the Race to Dubai standings with only the top 110 guaranteed to hold on to their tour cards for next season.

European Ryder Cup captain Clarke was three further back after a 76 which included two double bogeys.

Paul Dunne, currently 122nd in the order of the merit, is sharing 22nd place after a 68 with Gary Hurley on 69 and Peter Lawrie matching Sharvin's 72.

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