Shane Lowry shot an opening round 66 to sit just one stroke behind the early leaders at the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Thursday.
That's great news for a tournament getting by without the star power of Rory McIlroy and even better is the fact that Lowry came off the 18th green happy with his score but without having played his best.
“I played okay,” he said of a round that lapsed into over par with a three-putt on the third before swinging back in the opposite direction. “I didn't think I played great but I hit it in the right spots. I managed my way around the golf course today and that's what I'm most happy about.”
Lowry missed more fairways than he would have liked but five birdies on the par-70 links venue – the last of them on the par-five 18th – leave him in prime position for a stab at what would be a second European Tour win of the season after his win in Abu Dhabi in January.
It's no wonder that he professed to having enjoyed himself in front of a large and appreciative home crowd and in conditions that allied blazing blue skies and a win just firm enough to be a factor but not a dominant one.
“I saw the draw on Tuesday and saw that I was playing with Tommy (Fleetwood) and Russell (Knox) and I was quite happy with that. Two lovely lads and very easy to play golf with, so it was nice.
The plan post-round was to hit a few balls on the range alongside his caddy for the week and friend Dara Lernihan - his regular right-hand man Brian Martin is absent because his wife is expecting a baby - before returning to base and breaking out the barbecue.
All seems right with the world for Lowry right now - even a Climate Action protest on the last failed to knock him off his stride. That's what six months of good golf and a strong opening hand does for you.
"I just have to go down and find my ball and hopefully it's a half-decent lie and move on from it from there.
“That's the way I've been playing golf over the last few months and it seems to be working. So I hope I can keep doing that for the next while, anyway.”