Thursday 66 has Shane Lowry among the Irish Open leaders

Thursday 66 has Shane Lowry among the Irish Open leaders
Shane Lowry of Ireland on the 12th green during day one of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch Golf Club in Lahinch. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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 crowds were huge and I'd say they're going to be quite big tomorrow as well, I'm looking forward to it.

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.

Happy days.

 Shane Lowry of Ireland plays from the rough on the 13th during day one of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch Golf Club in Lahinch. Picture:  Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Shane Lowry of Ireland plays from the rough on the 13th during day one of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch Golf Club in Lahinch. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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.

Yeah, and it's not so much confidence. I'm just not going to get down on myself for hitting bad shots or putting myself in bad places.

"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.”

More on this topic

As The Open starts in Northern Ireland – 5 of the most beautiful golf courses around the worldAs The Open starts in Northern Ireland – 5 of the most beautiful golf courses around the world

Rampaging Rahm now targets Seve hat-trickRampaging Rahm now targets Seve hat-trick

‘Mixed emotions’ but dogged Dawson moving up the ranks‘Mixed emotions’ but dogged Dawson moving up the ranks

'We’re thrilled for the community, we’re thrilled for Clare''We’re thrilled for the community, we’re thrilled for Clare'

More in this Section

FAI reform recommendations must be accepted 'as an overall package', says head of review groupFAI reform recommendations must be accepted 'as an overall package', says head of review group

Lowry moves two shots clear as McIlroy attempts to put poor start behind himLowry moves two shots clear as McIlroy attempts to put poor start behind him

Eoin Morgan set to lead Dublin Chiefs in new Euro T20 Slam competitionEoin Morgan set to lead Dublin Chiefs in new Euro T20 Slam competition

Liverpool Women pass time during pre-season weather delay with bucket challengeLiverpool Women pass time during pre-season weather delay with bucket challenge


Lifestyle

Garbage offered a pop twist on grunge’s maximalist angst when they materialised in a dramatic swirl in the mid-Nineties. Like a candy-cane Nirvana, they were bleak and baroque but with tunes you could hum in the dark.Garbage's return to Dublin well worth the wait

Circle back to fashion's hottest retro print, says Annmarie O'Connor.Trend of the Week: Circling back to fashion's hottest retro print

Ever wondered what it would be like to move lock, stock and barrel into a tiny home, like the ones on Netflix’s Tiny House Nation?Are you ready to join the tiny-house movement?

Kya deLongchamps reports back on the performance of her photovoltaic array and wonders if it could handle the addition of an electric carDIY: Get ready for a natural high

More From The Irish Examiner