Shane Lowry puts a brave face on temper outburst

With good reason, Shane Lowry admitted to embarrassment and shame and letting family and friends down after an outburst of temper during yesterday’s second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open probably cost him the chance of capturing the title for the second time in six years.

Lowry banged his putter against a metal pole as he walked off the 12th green (his third hole) and knocked it so much out of shape that it was no longer fit for purpose. From then on, he coped as best he could on the greens with a sand wedge with which he enjoyed a degree of success. Nevertheless, a round of 74 for four over left him a long way off the pace and somewhat red-faced under his thick and flourishing beard.

“I just got frustrated, that’s the way I am, a bit hot-headed at times”, the burly Offalyman accepted, before stressing: “But I’m not going to try to change, that’s the kind of player I am and I think it’s a part of what has me where I am today. Obviously I need to calm it down a little bit at times, you can’t do stupid things like that.”

Lowry made no attempt to excuse what he had done and revealed that he was very close to walking off the green and indeed would have done so were it not for the influence of caddie Dermot Byrne and coach Neil Manchip. As usual in these situations, there was even opportunity for a little joke as Byrne quipped: “It’s going to be an even harder day for me if I have to club you on the greens”.

Lowry smiled ruefully at the crack while admitting: “As I walked off the 17th green, I said to Neil, ‘There’s no point in me staying out here’. I said to him, ‘I’ll make a show of myself’. I was quite embarrassed at the time because it wasn’t as if there was no-one around watching.

“I mean it’s not easy. You just feel like you’re letting people down, your parents and the crowd watching, and you’re thinking, what do they think? Wendy (his fiancée) is there, what does she think? That’s the way I feel about it. It’s difficult, you’re letting a lot of people down.”

But Dermot said to me, ‘There’s no way I’m letting you walk in here – you’re not walking in. You can’t.’”

Four times major champion Ernie Els and Ryder Cupper Francesco Molinari were in the same group as Lowry and cannot have been impressed at what they had seen. Shane apologised to them at the finish of a round that still didn’t seem anything like as bad as it might well have done when the incident occurred.

“I’m just quite lucky the way I played for I managed to hole a few putts with the wedge”, he reflected.

“To be honest I don’t deserve to make the cut doing something like that. I’m quite disappointed in myself but sure it’s the first club I’ve broken and it won’t be the last.

“I just put the club down on the ground and tried to blade it and get the blade right. I was trying to leave myself quick putts. If you leave yourself quick putts it’s easy, because all you do then is worry about the strike.

“The highlight came at the 7th, my 16th. The putt was about 25-30 feet, it was one of those where I was just trying to get it down somewhere within two feet that I could hole the next one and it dropped in.”Apart from the regrettable incident with the putter, Lowry maintained that he battled well. “I needed to play well and I did. I hit it inside 20 feet a few times on the back nine and it’s hard to do that on this course.”

If the weather remains as it was yesterday, it hardly looks possible that Jimmy Bruen’s 79 year old low mark of 66 at Royal Co Down will be equalled, let alone beaten. Even so, Lowry believes that he himself could go close.

“If everything goes well although obviously I need to putt well”, he reasoned.

“I think you knock off the three par-fives, 16…if you play the tough holes well there’s a score, But I’m not sure if there’s a 64 or 65 out there. If I can go out and shoot two rounds in the 60s, I may still have a chance because I don’t think level par will be far off the winning mark on this course.

“I’ll be out early in the morning but the only thing is that if the course dries up, it will play even tougher so good weather is not necessarily what you want.”

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