Shane Lowry gets off to quick start at Memorial as putter gets hot in Ohio

Irishman makes five birdies in a row early on but settles for three-under-par 69 in designated PGA Tour event

For a time during the opening round of the Memorial tournament at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, Shane Lowry was like a wizard; his putter was akin to a magic wand as, for five straight holes, birdie putt after birdie putt fell into the tin cup, the ball disappearing to wide smiles across the Offaly man’s face as he got off to the hottest of starts.

Indeed, Lowry, who started this designated $20 million PGA Tour event on the 10th, and then reeled off five successive birdies from the 11th, did hit some speed bumps thereafter but signed for a three-under-par 69 that had him at the business end of the leaderboard, a stroke behind clubhouse leader Matt Wallace.

“I got off to a hot start, rolled in some lovely putts early on. You’re not going to keep that going all day,” admitted Lowry after a strong start to the tournament in what kick-starts a four-week straight run of events that also includes the US Open in just over a fortnight’s time.

Lowry’s putter was hot, giving him a strokes gained putting stat of plus-2.6 in a round where he needed just 26 putts: he got the run going on the 11th from 12 feet, hit a lovely tee-shot over the water on the Par 3 12th to 36 feet and sank the putt, followed with a seven-footer on the 13th, a 14-footer on the 14th and a 10-footer on the 15th.


The wonderful run came to an end on the Par 3 16th: “It was just a smelly hole. I aimed it at the flag and I cut it off and into the bunker. My normal shot would be just left edge of the green there and just hit a hard cut 6-iron and I wasn’t aggressive enough there. But, yeah, that’s just how it goes.”

Overall, Lowry was a happy man with his day’s work as he aims to move up the FedEx Cup standings and also chase a first win on the PGA Tour since his British Open win of 2019. “It’s important not to get down on myself after making a few bogeys; 3-under’s a pretty good score around here. I’m pretty happy with my start.”

Séamus Power, too, started strongly as the Waterford player opened with a two-under-par 70, highlighted by a hat-trick of birdies from the sixth. “It is tough going, did a lot of things well. Got a birdie putt on the sixth from 35 feet and that sort of got me going ... that was a good stretch. Overall, pretty pleased,” said Power.

In the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National on the LPGA Tour, Stephanie Meadow got off to a strong start with an opening round of four-under-par 68, which had her three strokes adrift of clubhouse leader Lauren Hartlage.

Meadow, who had six birdies and two bogeys in her round, identified her “really solid iron shots” and her putting as the key factors in her round.

“The course is awesome. I like the set-up. It’s just nice to see some things that I have been working on coming through to tournament play. I’m just going to stick to the same thing. I have my coach here this week and my husband, so it’s nice to have my team around me and I’m just going to keep doing the same thing,” said Meadow, whose best finish so far this season was a tied-23rd in the Drive On Championship back in March.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times