Rory McIlroy may have won four Majors, but Shane Lowry scored a first over the World No. 1 with an ace on the second day of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
McIlroy was the first to ‘high five’ his good friend after Lowry’s 6-iron shot from 183-yards at the par three 13th took one bounce and then disappeared into the cup on the Earth Course at the Jumeriah Estates Resort.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson enjoys a two shot lead in posting a 66 to move to 10 under par, while McIlroy, who birdied the first but then parred the next 10 and played his closing eight in one under, signed off for a 70 to enjoy a share of second with Scotland’s Richie Ramsay (69) and England’s Danny Willett (67).
There was no luxury car nor cash prize for Lowry but the offer of two night’s accommodation at the luxury Atlantis Hotel in Dubai, and of course he enjoyed the honour over McIlroy on the next tee.
Lowry’s caddy Dermot Byrne grabbed the Srixon ball, marked with a green three leaf clover, and retired it to Lowry’s golf bag on route to the Offaly man posting a round of 71 for a five way share of fifth on seven under.
“It was a beautiful shot, a perfect number for my six iron. It’s my first one in tournament play and only my second-ever hole-in-one so it was exciting but then it was hard to go on and play the next hole after it,” said Lowry. I noticed a Rolex sign on the tee and thought I might win a gleaming new Rolex but then two nights at the Atlantis is not too bad.”
Lowry’s first ace, and also using a 6-iron, came last year when hosting a corporate outing at the Castle Rock club.
Lowry found dealing with the ‘circus’ that comes with playing alongside McIlroy, who is yet to record a hole-in-one either competing in Europe or on the PGA Tour, a little distracting.
“At the beginning I was anxious more than anything else because at the end of the day, he’s the World No 1 and there’s a bit of a circus with it,” said Lowry.
“There was a lot of cameras, a lot of noise, and stuff that I’m not used to. So for the first few holes I wasn’t dealing too well with it but I managed to play okay from the seventh or eighth onwards. But then when I was hitting my second at 16 and I could hear them singing the Fields of Athenry in the tented village bar. I was like ‘at least someone’s having fun!’
Graeme McDowell’s love affair with the course continues to remain lukewarm as was the scenario of the eve of the event. McDowell birdied his opening two holes, gave back the shots at six and nine but then birdied 14 and 15 in a two under par 70 for a share of 26th at two under par.
“There was absolutely nothing to report on Thursday but then it was a little bit better today,” he said.
“This Earth Course is not my happiest hunting ground as you know but what you can do than just keep grinding away.
“With two rounds to go there is still a lot to play for and every spot on the Race to Dubai is a prisoner for in trying to get myself in that top-15.”