Shane Lowry looks on the bright side at Irish Open following first-round one-under

Shane Lowry bore the brunt of the worst of the weather on the opening day of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and was happy simply not to have played his way out of contention following a first-round one-under 71.
Shane Lowry looks on the bright side at Irish Open following first-round one-under

The world number 35 was determined to see the glass half full as the afternoon starters enjoyed a mostly dry session, while he was among the early half of the draw at the K Club who caught heavy showers and the strongest winds in Kildare.

He may be trailing Masters champion Danny Willett by six shots going into today’s second round, as is Graeme McDowell, but Lowry said he would try and stay as positive as he was after the first two rounds of last week’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, when he was contending for the lead with Jason Day only to fall away over the weekend, eventually settling for a tie for 16th.

“This is a new week, and I didn’t have the best of weekends, but if you take away my first four holes on Saturday, it wouldn’t have been a bad weekend,” Lowry said of his Players performance.

“That’s the way I kind of have to look at it. You have to look at it as the glass half full. Need to take the positives. I don’t see anyone shooting really low out there today. It’s quite tricky. It’s windy. The greens, you know, are quite tough to hole putts on. I’m pretty happy where I’m sitting right now.”

McDowell was equally satisfied with his day’s work having double bogeyed the par-three fifth, bouncing back with a birdie at the difficult par-four seventh, and an eagle at the par-five 10th. He would bogey the last, but said: “I’m very happy with minus one; one of those rounds that could have slipped away after the start. Some good scoring up at the top of the leaderboard obviously from Danny and Rory (McIlroy, on five under) and guys like that, but I think two or three solid rounds and one decent one will really compete here, and there’s a lot of golf to play.

“The weather will obviously play a big part here this weekend and we’ve just got to try and keep it as low as we can and keep as close to the leaders as we can.”

Paul McGinley and Gavin Moynihan, pros at either end of the experience spectrum, shot level-par 72s, though the latter, aged 21, has a long way to go before he hands in his card and heads straight to a Sky Sports commentary booth as the former Ryder Cup- winning captain did at the conclusion of his round.

Current European captain Darren Clarke leads a trio of homegrown players on one over par, alongside Peter Lawrie and tournament invitee Gary Hurley on 73, while Ruaidhri McGee and Kevin Phelan each posted 76s.

Pádraig Harrington struck a rueful tone following his morning four-over 76, the seeds of which were sown, despite an opening birdie, on his front nine, triple-bogeying the par-four 11th, his second of the round, and doubling his fifth for a six.

“I got a bad break on the second, I stuck my second shot right against a tree beside the green and made a seven. And the same on 14 (his fifth), it was playing very long. I got caught with a long bunker shot. So when conditions were difficult three shots were thrown away there.

“I could have scored a lot better, I could have found four or five shots in the round, no problem, and be standing here saying, ‘This is a nice thing’.

“Saying that, it was tough. The weather is tough and it’s very hard for us in modern golf, all our equipment is designed to play in sunny weather so when we go out in cold weather we don’t get enough friction on the golf ball to get spin on it and all of a sudden it starts squirreling.

“So it was a tough driving golf course out there and especially on that back nine we seemed to be on an awful lot of back tees. It was quite a big, stern test.”

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