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Shane Lowry rues Masters miss, but round with Phil the Thrill a day to remember

‘I love playing golf with Phil. He hit some shots that I’m … enjoying as a spectator more than anything else’

At least Shane Lowry got to see Phil Mickelson’s escapology up-close and personal, for the Masters itself – from his perspective – proved to be a disappointing and frustrating experience where it took until the 14th hole of a final round 74 for eight-over-par 296 before he could allow a smile to cross his face.

“I love playing golf with Phil. He hit some shots that I’m kind of right there enjoying as a spectator more than anything else. When I saw the draw, I was excited to go out and play a Masters Sunday with him. He lived up to his name. He hit some unbelievable shots,” remarked Lowry of playing with Phil the Thrill.

On a more serious footnote, though, Lowry’s grand expectations of adding a second career Major to his Curriculum Vitae – to go with his Claret Jug of 2019 – were undone in the opening two rounds and, in a case of better late than never, there was better feel with the putter in hand on the homeward run as he moves on to a favoured place at Hilton Head for this week’s RBS Heritage, a signature event on the PGA Tour.

“I played all right golf throughout the week, just made a lot of bogeys, a lot of bogeys. No big mistakes, nothing disastrous. Just a lot of bogeys,” lamented Lowry. He was right: 19 bogeys proved to be too heavy a load to carry, while he also had no fewer than six three-putts in the tournament. “I just didn’t really hole my par putts when I needed to. When you do that early on around this course, you get behind the black ball, and it was just tough. I took it on the chin the past few days that I wasn’t going to contend and I was just doing my best to finish as high up the leaderboard as I could … I went out, I tried, I failed and I will be back again!”


Lowry will lick his wounds and move on, with this week’s tour stop at Hilton Head bringing the additional benefits of sharing a house with Tommy Fleetwood’s family so that his mind can be rested before going again. “It’s over now. I’m going to go back to the drawing board and see what I can do next week,” he said.

Indeed, Lowry’s scheduling will mean he follows the Augusta National with Hilton Head – where he was third in 2022 – followed by a novel two-man team event with Rory McIlroy in the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. Then there is a break before heading to Valhalla for the US PGA Championship, the second Major of the year.

“I’m getting to a stage now in my career that I’m going back to Major venues that I already know, so I feel like I’m getting old. But that’s nice, going back to Valhalla this year and back to Pinehurst [for the US Open], back to Troon [for the Open], so that’s nice, and all the golf courses.

“Obviously, Masters week, you put a lot of pressure on yourself, it means a lot. But they all mean a lot, to be honest. Every tournament means a lot out here on tour. I think for me this week is probably the most special week of the year. Disappointed not to give it a decent run this year. Yeah, hopefully, I have a few more years left of giving it a run out here.”

And more chances, only in the Majors these days, to play with Phil the Thrill.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times