Shane Lowry admitted he was growing tired of feeling as disappointed as he was last night after an opening-round two-over-par 72 at Royal Birkdale.
It is not the first time the 30-year-old Irishman has been left frustrated by a first day at The Open having been full of confidence 24 hours earlier, but Lowry remains optimistic he will soon be suitably rewarded for a game that yesterday did not give back what he felt it deserved.
After a round of three birdies, three bogies and a double bogey at the par-four 16th, he will start his second round at 3.21pm today having finished the first day seven shots off the pace set by the US trio of Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar, and Brooks Koepka. It is not a desperate situation given today’s forecast of wet windy and weather. Yet in the immediate aftermath of his opening 72, Lowry could not help but feel he should have been in a much more advantageous position.
“A very disappointing day on the golf course. I’m starting to get sick of them but I’ll just have to get on with it and get out there tomorrow and do my best,” said Lowry.
“I played good golf. I was never really out of position, only on 16. I made a bad double there. There were a few times I had fairly straightforward up and downs and I didn’t make them. Yeah, just scored very badly and 72 is not what you would like out there today.
“It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t that hard either. It was kind of a bit in between. Obviously there were some good scores. I’d say there’s some bad scores out there as well, but the way I played today should definitely have been better than 72. Unfortunately I’m getting a bit used to it and I’m disappointed at the minute. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I’ll just have to reflect on it later and get out tomorrow and do the best I can.”
Lowry opened with a birdie at the par-four first but gave the shot straight back at the par-four second after failing to get out of a greenside bunker at the first attempt, his ball hitting a ridge and rolling back into the trap. When he did extricate himself he got up and down very well to limit the damage.
He birdied the ninth to move to one under, turning for home in 33, but again bogeyed the next hole and the inward nine also saw him bogey the 13th before a double-bogey six at the 16th. This time the reaction was a positive one and Lowry birdied 17 to send him back to two over, nevertheless leaving him flummoxed at his day’s work.
“I feel like my golf is good but I’m getting absolutely zero out of it. But look, there’s a long week left. I believe there’s some bad weather tomorrow. If I can go out there and try and keep it at the score I’m at or try and get it back towards par, I think I’ll be doing all right.
“I went out and set my target on not making any doubles this week. Unfortunately that’s gone straight away. I made three birdies today. The winner’s probably going to make between 12 and 15 birdies this week, so I’m on my way to that.
“You never know. Maybe it’ll start happening for me tomorrow. Some day it’s going to start happening for me.”
Darren Clarke closed his first round with back-to-back birdies to leave the 2011 Open champion on five over par following his 75. It had been a difficult day for the Portrush-based golfer with a hat-trick of bogeys at the fifth, sixth, and seventh undermining his front nine, before two bogeys and a double bogey at the par-four 13th threatened to completely ruin his round.
Clarke made amends with his first birdies of the day at 17 and 18 but will need to improve his putting if he is to qualify for the weekend.
The 48-year-old needed 38 putts in his opening round and afterwards vowed to find a new putter for today’s second round. “Had five three putts, my putting speed was awful… my putting was a disaster. That putter will not be with me tomorrow. It’s very fortunate that it’s in one piece… someone will be getting a very nice putter,” he said.
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