Lowry posted a three-under-par 68 to be trailing three strokes behind Dutchman Joost Luiten, who birdied seven of his last 10 holes in a six-under-par 65 on the Twenty-Ten course which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.
‘Belgium Bomber’ Nicolas Colsaerts set a new European Tour longest drive of 447 yards at the 18th on his way to second place alongside Scot Andrew McArthur on five under par.
Lowry could have easily accepted a Gleneagles commentating role but intends spending the week at home glued to the box as Paul McGinley’s men strive to retain the Ryder Cup trophy.
“The first Ryder Cup I will attend will be the year I am representing Europe so until then I will be at home watching it on TV,” said Lowry.
“I was saying to Paul [McGinley] last night that the Americans are going to be very underestimated next week.
“And that is not by any of the European players but by the public, so it’s up to Paul to get all the lads in the right frame of mind, but then I have no doubt he’ll be right on top of that next week.
“By this time next week Paul will have his players jumping through hoops and if it was a football team they will be running right through the dressing room door.”
Lowry arrived in Wales lying well up in 17th place on the Race to Dubai money list and 63rd in the world rankings, and with six events remaining this year to break inside the top 50 and secure that long-awaited maiden Masters invitation.
“Of course, another Tour victory is always first and foremost in my mind but I would love to receive that letter in the mail with the postmark ‘Augusta, Georgia’, so that’s the plan this year,” he said.
“Getting into the top 50 has been hanging over my head for a long time now, for a couple of years now, and I feel if I can keep on doing what I am doing it should happen.”
Biggest disappointment on the day was the effort of Ryder Cup rookie Stephen Gallacher, who failed to manage a birdie in a seven-over-par round of 78.
“I haven’t played in three weeks so there’s a fair bit of rust in my game but then I am thinking more about next week than this week,” he admitted.
Lee Westwood, who hasn’t played in a month, also struggled to shoot a two-over-par 73.
World No 1 Rory McIlroy joined London Mayor Boris Johnson on the Thames yesterday hitting balls at a target floating in front of Tower Bridge.
McIlroy was in England as a promotion for one of his sponsors, while on Saturday it is rumoured he will be in the Sky Sports studio as a guest during Saturday’s coverage of the Premier League.