IT WAS triple Major-winning Padraig Harrington who made the effort to break from his practice and congratulate Shane Lowry on last month’s 3 Irish Open success yesterday.
Harrington had just walked onto to the practice putting green behind the clubhouse of National Golf Club course in Versailles when he joined a short time later by Lowry.
Harrington had spoken with Lowry on the phone soon after his success at Baltray but late yesterday afternoon, in conditions still about 30 degrees celsius, was the first time since Baltray the pair had stood face to face.
Lowry delighted in accepting Harrington’s remarks before the pair got on with the task at hand, and that is preparing for today’s €4m French Open.
The event is Lowry’s fourth since turning pro at last month’s European Open in Kent, though it was last week in Munich for the BMW International Open that the 22-year old Esker Hills golfer went close to playing all four rounds in his new career.
Lowry had moved to two-under par with eight holes to play, and just needed one more birdie to ensure a weekend appearance in the Bavarian capital.
However a couple of closing bogeys spoilt that, though Lowry will try again this week, and on the 2018 Ryder Cup candidate course that is playing similar to the links gems he is so familiar with.
“I went very close last week and felt I played really well, and a couple of putts here and there and I would have been into the weekend,” he said.
“But this National Club course is getting very hard and bouncy, and though it has that links feel, any course is good that you play well on.
“(However), it’s a course where you can knock it around without using the driver too much, so we’ll see how it goes. Of course, I’m really looking forward to getting a first four-rounder under my belt but if it doesn’t happen this week it’s going to happen some week.”
Lowry continues to receive the well-wishers not only of Harrington but other established players on the Tour. However, his arrival in Versailles was a lot less different to the scenes that greeted his arrival last month at the London Club.
“It was all a bit mad at the European Open and something I just wasn’t use to but thankfully it’s finally settled down big time now and that’s nice,” he said. “I am starting to get into it and am looking forward to getting out and playing this week.
“But I am also learning being out on the Tour makes for a long week. I am travelling on Mondays and not getting home ‘till Sunday, and then you’re off again on Monday or Tuesday morning.
“So consistency is going to be the key but it’s all part of the learning curve. But the reception I’ve received out here continues to be great, including Colin Montgomerie who was really nice when he spoke to me at the London Club.”
And keep a lookout for the cap Lowry’s caddy, David Reynolds, will be wearing this week. It’s a special Esker Hills GC cap with the name ‘Lowry’ overwritten on the Irish flag on the side of the cap. On the back is “Home of the 3 Irish Open champion — Shane Lowry”. Lowry has just one new item of equipment in his bag since his Baltray success and that’s a Scotty Cameron ‘Kombi’ putter.
Lowry tees off today in the company of fellow Irishman Damien McGrane and Spain’s Miguel Angel Martin.
He and Harrington are among 10 Irish vying for the €666,660 first prize cheque while the leading player in the top-five, not otherwise exempt, earns a place into next fortnight's British Open at Turnberry.