HAVING made life difficult for himself on Thursday, 3 Irish Open champion Shane Lowry demonstrated his increasing maturing yesterday by shooting an admirable six under par 65 to maintain his interest into the weekend.
The pressure he felt defending his title undermined his confidence on the first day when he finished with a 74.
However, it was a different scenario yesterday as he buckled down to his task in great style and was rewarded. Galleries everywhere have quickly taken the big Clara man to their hearts and an deafening cheer rang around the course when he sank a chip for an unlikely birdie on the 17th.
“I hit a really bad tee shot down the left and came up just short with my second,” he said. “It was into the wind and wasn’t as hard as it looked. I popped it up there, ran up the hill hoping that it was close and it went in.”
Lowry was in the same match as his Horizon Sports stablemate Ross Fisher who was enjoying a stunning round but the manner in which the Offaly native refused to be intimidated was most impressive.
“My score felt like level par with the way Ross was playing and it’s a pleasure to watch golf like that,” Lowry continued. “I put a lot of pressure on myself Thursday whereas I went out to enjoy myself (Friday). I was more like myself out there, laughing and joking between shots while Thursday there was a lot of stuff going through my head. I wasn’t thinking it was going to be my last day as champion. The crowd were great with a lot of people from home and it’s just great to be part of this tournament. I know I’m nine shots behind Ross but if I can shoot two scores in the mid sixties again, you never know what can happen on Sunday.”
Another Irish player to do himself proud was Michael Hoey who added a 69 to Thursday’s 67 to get to seven under par and in line for one of the biggest cheques of his career.
“This is my first cut in the Irish Open and I’m not too far off the lead,” said the former British Amateur champion. “I told myself I had to make a cut in this tournament and figured out what needed to be done. The plan was to just keep swinging, keep the rhythm nice and smooth and stay relaxed.
“I’m happy that I’ve managed to do that and for the weekend it will be the old golfing adage – one shot at a time.”
Damien McGrane, who had played himself into a very favourable position with a 65 on Thursday, lost ground yesterday after carding four 5s in his last six holes, three of those bogeys.
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