Lowry masters Alpine course

A decision by Shane Lowry not to let the Alpine course overshadow him paid dividends, with the Esker Hills star producing his equal-best round in four appearances in the Omega European Masters.

On each of the past three years, Lowry has travelled up the mountainous road to the Crans-sur-Sierre course and on three occasions he’s tumbled off the course having missed the halfway cut.

But after an opening round of two under par 69 in wet and miserable conditions, Lowry is determined to play all four days this year.

“That’s my best score around here for a long while, as I just seem to struggle every year here,” said Lowry.

“I just went out there in a good frame of mind and just not wanting to think about past rounds.

“So I just felt my mental approach to the round was good and to manage a couple of good up-and-downs when I needed them was very pleasing.

“Things like that help with your momentum and hopefully now after now, after this good round, I can keep it going.”

Michael Hoey carded a one under par 70 while four players, Paul McGinley, Peter Lawrie, Darren Clarke and Gareth Maybin, signed for 72s.

McGinley had former Tour player, Simon Hurd again on the bag but was struggling early on after bogeying three of his opening four holes.

“There’s not much to say and to be three over early on was a terrible start, while the conditions were also pretty awful — but then it was the same for everybody,” he said.

“It was just a battle all day long trying to get back in the tournament.”

Clarke headed straight for the putting green after his round. Even with the rain continuing to fall. he stayed out with his caddy and manager spotted holding umbrellas over the Ryder Cup vice-captain.

Meanwhile Portmarnock is the setting today for the 29th St Andrews Trophy match as the amateurs of Great Britain and Ireland attempt to regain the silverware they lost in Milan two years ago. As they now hold the Walker Cup on this side of the atlantic, Nigel Edwards and his team will want to make sure that this trophy is also in the Royal & Ancient cabinet.

Only two of the players that won the Walker Cup in Aberdeen — Rathmore’s amateur champion Alan Dunbar and Welsh teen Rhys Pugh — are in the line-up for the two-day event.

Dunbar, aged 22, has enjoyed a splendid year. Apart from winning the British Amateur at Royal Troon, he was runner-up in the St Andrews Links Trophy. He is one of two Irishmen in the line-up, the other being US-based Kevin Phelan, who hails from Waterford.

Phelan made his name qualifying for the US Open at Pebble Beach two years ago and was fourth in the recent European Championship at Carton House and second in the Brabazon Trophy and is in a rich vein of form.

Alongside the St Andrews Trophy encounter is the Jacques Leglise battle between the boys of the continent and their GB&I counterparts&.

Dubliner Gavin Moynihan, who won a senior Irish cap earlier this month and won all three singles, captains the side. He has had a great season, winning the Irish Open Amateur stroke-play and the McEvoy Trophy.

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