Rory and the rain depart from the script

Mixed fortunes for Irish contingent as Lowry shows the way

Rory McIlroy hitting his third shot to the fourth green at Carton House. The Co Down man opened with two bogeys in the first three holes. Photograph: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Rory McIlroy hitting his third shot to the fourth green at Carton House. The Co Down man opened with two bogeys in the first three holes. Photograph: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 01:00




“They should rename this the Precipitation Invitational,” said the man taking shelter in the tented village.

The early morning drizzle steadied to a downpour as Europe’s finest took to the immaculate fairways of Carton House for the opening round yesterday of the Irish Open.

Rory McIlroy opened with two bogeys in the first three holes. Having spent the week talking up his game, he showed less than brilliant form with some zig-zag golf.

Clad in grey and black rain gear, he displayed a grey and black mood with questioning “what’s going on” looks directed at his caddie and disbelieving stares after stray shots. It really wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Not that early leader Shane Lowry took any notice. Playing on home turf, he shot his way into an early lead at five-under, seven ahead of his superstar partner.

Irish contingent
Will Irish Eyes Be Smiling? questioned a number of posters with the faces of the Irish contingent. The answer appeared to be, well, yes and no.

Lowry’s eyes were when he hosted his press conference. If he found it irksome that so many questions about Rory’s performance came his way, he didn’t show it. He politely declined to offer free advice on the Co Down man’s problems.

Padraig Harrington’s eyes weren’t smiling either. Sure, he picked up a few shots – then handed them right back. He finished on one-under alongside Graeme McDowell.

Darren Clarke didn’t look happy either at three-over. No flashing smile, no banter with spectators.

In contrast, down in the tented village the tills rang. The big names in golf stuff were all there – with free professional coaching for the kids. A good move by Golf Ireland if ever there was one.

Flight tickets
You could have bought a BMW, or won one if you holed out on the short 17th. Emirates flight tickets were also available. It’s not often you find those for sale in a Co Kildare meadow.

The skies eventually cleared and the many who turned up in shorts began to look vindicated. They looked to the promise of a sunnier day today. So too, no doubt, do Rory and Padraig and Darren.