Different Strokes: Glass half full for Shane Lowry after best Masters finish to date

Will Zalatoris embraces Happy Gilmour comparisons after brilliant show in Augusta

It is a glass half-full kind of positive vibe for Shane Lowry as far as his best Masters finish so far (tied-21st) will see him aim to kick on, with the Offalyman – on the lookout for a caddie this week and possibly for a longer stint – staying in the swing of things with a visit to the RBC Classic at Hilton Head in South Carolina.

“I feel like, if I go on doing what I’m doing, I’ll do something okay in the next while,” said Lowry of looking ahead to his upcoming schedule, but one that will likely be without his caddie Brian “Bo” Martin for the foreseeable future.

However, the concerns which Lowry voiced about the new quarantine measures impacting on the Irish Open scheduled for Mount Juliet in July would appear to be have been allayed by the Government’s move to give elite sportspeople an exemption from mandatory hotel quarantine.

Lowry won’t have long to wait for the next Major, the US PGA at Kiawah Island next month with the US Open following at Torrey Pines in June before he thinks about heading back to Europe ahead of his defence of the British Open Championship at Sandwich.

As for the Masters, there was the confession that he would need to be a little more conservative with his shot options in the years ahead but that he has designs on a green jacket more than ever.

“I hope I get the chance someday. I just hope I get the chance. I just really want the chance to do it around Amen Corner someday. I’d love to be in those last few groups [on a Sunday]. It’s not great when you’re out there playing for 10th or 15th or whatever. It’s much nicer when you’re in contention.”

Will Zalatoris happy to embrace Happy Gilmore role

Will Zalatoris is a serious player but has shown a funny side in embracing his uncanny resemblance with the caddie from the 1996 film Happy Gilmore.

Prior to his final round of the Masters, where he finished runner-up to Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Sandler – who played Happy Gilmore – sent a message on Twitter: "Have fun today young man. Mr Gilmore is watching you and very proud."

To which Zalatoris replied, “If you’re ever in need of a caddie again let me know. I’ll be better this time. I’m always available for you Mr Gilmore”.

The caddie in the movie was played by actor Jared Van Snellenberg who, at one point, tells Sandler: "Mr Gilmore, I'm your caddie."

And of course, Zalatoris – taking the doppelganger connection in good spirits – only went and got that famous line engraved on the toe of one of his wedges.

Word of mouth

I can’t say I’m the greatest. However, I’m the first to win a Major, and if that’s the bar, then I’ve set it. – Hideki Matsuyama on whether he can be considered the greatest Japanese (male) golfer.

By the numbers: 4-2-2

Cormac Sharvin, Jonathan Caldwell, Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan are in action in the Austrian Open at Atzenbrugg this week. Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow – who performed strongly in the ANA Inspiration – move on to Hawaii for the LPGA's Lotte Championship. Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell are in the field for the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, South Carolina.

On this day: April 13th, 1986

Jack Nicklaus – at 46 years of age – staged a dramatic late charge to claim the Masters, giving him a record sixth green jacket and his 18th career Major title. The Golden Bear was four shots off the lead with four holes left but covered that closing stretch with an eagle and two birdies for a 65 and a 72-holes total of nine-under-par 279.

“This may be as fine a round of golf as I ever played,” said Nicklaus. “I’m not as good as I was 15 years ago. Just occasionally I want to be as good as I once was, and I was that today.”

Nicklaus had to wait just over half an hour after he signed his card to be assured of victory. Greg Norman reached the 18th tee on the back of four straight birdies from the 14th to 17th and needed a par on the 18th to force a playoff but the Australian hit his approach into the crowd and failed to get up-and-down to save par, finishing with a bogey.

Twitter talk: big for Japan

Making Japan proud Hideki. Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment for you and your country. This historical @TheMasters win will impact the entire golf world – Tiger Woods recognising the significance of Matsuyama's win.

I want to send my heartfelt congratulations to Hideki Matsuyama for his Masters Tournament victory, and for being the first Japanese male golfer to win a Major championship. I’m not only very happy and pleased for Hideki, but also the whole golfing world of Japan. – Jack Nicklaus

Seeing Hideki winning Masters is not only great for Japan, it is also great for Asian golf – PGA Tour player Ben An of South Korea.

Good morning future golfers! 50 years ago today after watching the 1971 @TheMasters I went to @welwyngcgolf and booked my first 6 lessons. Hideki is going to be a huge inspiration to growing golf globally! – Nick Faldo, winner of six Majors including three Masters titles, on how he got in to golf as a 13-year-old.

In the bag: Hideki Matsuyama (The Masters)

Driver: Srixon ZX5 (9.5 degrees)

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Titanium (15°)

Irons: TaylorMade SIM UDI (3), Srixon Z-Forged (4-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX4 (52, 56 and 60 degrees)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport prototype

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

Know the rules

Q: A player’s ball is just short of the putting green and, although their line of play is straight at the hole, the player is concerned their ball might come to rest in a nearby bunker. Before making the stroke, the player smooths sand in the bunker to make sure of a good lie if the shot to be played goes into the bunker. Is this action permissible?

A: No. In deliberately smoothing the sand, a player would be in breach of 8.2b/1 which applies to deliberate actions to improve physical conditions affecting a player’s play. The general penalty (two strokes in stroke play, loss of hole in match play) would apply.