Shane Lowry has pub pep talk to thank for clubhouse lead
‘I was probably as nervous as I’ve been in quite a while on the first tee, almost ever’
Shane Lowry on the 18th hole at Portrush. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
The Irishman felt he had a few issues with his game having practised around Portrush this week so headed down to the nearby Bushmills Inn with coach Neil Manchip to thrash a few things out.
Whatever was said clearly did the trick as despite admitting he still felt uneasy as he arrived at the first tee on Thursday morning he walked off the 18th green to sign for a four-under 67.
“I don’t feel like practice went unbelievably well this week. I felt a little bit uncomfortable,” he said.
“We went for a coffee yesterday down at the Bushmills Inn and we found a little quiet room, we had a great chat for about 40 minutes.
“We just put everything out in the open, everything out on the table, what could happen, what might happen.
“I left that room full of confidence and ready to go. (But) I was probably as nervous as I’ve been in quite a while on the first tee, almost ever, I’d say.
“It’s the British Open, it’s in Ireland, I’m playing well, I feel like I should come up and do well.
“I’m sure there’s plenty of golfers standing on the first tee feeling uneasy. You wouldn’t be human if you weren’t nervous or uneasy about playing in the biggest tournament in the world.
“I just hope I’m nervous on Sunday afternoon out there. It’s right where you want to be, and you have to tell yourself that when you’re there.
“Where would you rather be? Would you rather be here or sitting at home watching on TV?”
Lowry was two under through five and picked up another two shots either side of the turn to go top of the leaderboard.
He was overtaken by Webb Simpson, who briefly got it to five under before bogeys at the American’s final two holes — compared to Lowry’s six straight pars coming home — restored the Irishman to top spot with his best opening round in a major.
“It’s my best round by about eight shots. That was nice,” he added.
“It was nice to shoot a good score and hopefully I can go out and keep at it the next few days.”
First round scores from British Open at Portrush (British unless stated, (a) denotes amateurs, Par 71):
66 J.B. Holmes (USA)
67 Shane Lowry (Irl)
68 Alex Noren (Swe), Ryan Fox (Nzl), Webb Simpson (USA), Tony Finau (USA), Brooks Koepka (USA), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Jon Rahm (Spa), Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia (Spa), Robert Macintyre, Tyrrell Hatton, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Lee Westwood
69 Sang Hyun Park (Kor), Justin Rose, Ashton Turner, Romain Langasque (Fra)
70 Andrew Putnam (USA), Charley Hoffman (USA), Yuki Inamori (Jpn), Branden Grace (Rsa), Patrick Cantlay (USA), Si Woo Kim (Kor), Eddie Pepperell, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa), Kevin Kisner (USA), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Rickie Fowler (USA), Jordan Spieth (USA), Henrik Stenson (Swe), Jason Day (Aus), Lucas Bjerregaard (Den), Rory Sabbatini (Svk), Callum Shinkwin, Matt Kuchar (USA), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Cameron Smith (Aus), Russell Knox
71 Justin Harding (Rsa), Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Zander Lombard (Rsa), Darren Clarke (NIrl), Doc Redman (USA), Justin Thomas (USA), (a) James Sugrue (Irl), Ernie Els (Rsa), Mikumu Horikawa (Jpn), Sungjae Im (Kor), Patrick Reed (USA), Matthew Fitzpatrick
72 Inn-choon Hwang (Kor), Aaron Wise (USA), Brandon Stone (Rsa), Mikko Korhonen (Fin), Gunn Charoenkul (Tha), Yosuke Asaji (Jpn), Connor Syme, (a) Curtis Knipes, Corey Conners (Can), Lucas Glover (USA), Bubba Watson (USA), Brian Harman (USA), Dustin Johnson (USA), Abraham Ancer (Mex), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Paul Casey, Thomas Pieters (Bel), Nino Bertasio (Ita)
73 Andrew Johnston, Matt Wallace, Joost Luiten (Ned), Shaun Norris (Rsa), Byeong-Hun An (Kor), Oliver Wilson, Takumi Kanaya (a) (Jpn), Chez Reavie (USA), Emiliano Grillo (Arg), Prom Meesawat (Tha), Adrian Otaegui (Spa), Benjamin Hebert (Fra), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa), Luke List (USA), Brandon Wu (a) (USA), Chris Wood, Graeme McDowell (NIrl), Keegan Bradley (USA), Jim Furyk (USA), Andrea Pavan (Ita), Patton Kizzire (USA), Alexander Levy (Fra)
74 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Jason Kokrak (USA), Ryan Palmer (USA), Gary Woodland (USA), Adam Hadwin (Can), Danny Willett, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), David Lipsky (USA), Jimmy Walker (USA), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Bryson DeChambeau (USA), Kurt Kitayama (USA), Doyeob Mun (Kor), Xander Schauffele (USA), Zach Johnson (USA), Sung Kang (Kor), Stewart Cink (USA), Haotong Li (Chn), Brandt Snedeker (USA)
75 Adri Arnaus (Spa), Kyle Stanley (USA), Paul Waring, Nate Lashley (USA), Sam Locke, Tom Lewis, Chan Kim (USA), Paul Lawrie, Yoshinori Fujimoto (Jpn), Ian Poulter, Keith Mitchell (USA), Jack Senior, Austin Connelly (Can), Isidro Benitez (Mex), Pádraig Harrington (Irl)
76 Dong-kyu Jang (Kor), Andrew null Wilson, Jorge Campillo (Spa), (a) Matthias Schmid (Ger), Phil Mickelson (USA), Joel Dahmen (USA), Robert Rock, Andy Sullivan, Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Yuta Ikeda (Jpn), Jake McLeod (Aus), Billy Horschel (USA)
77 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Alexander Bjork (Swe), Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai), Kevin Streelman (USA)
78 Tiger Woods (USA), Adam Scott (Aus), Marc Leishman (Aus), Tom Lehman (USA), Matthew Baldwin, Richard Sterne (Rsa)
79 Rory McIlroy (NIrl), Garrick Porteous
82 Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa)
83 Shugo Imahira (Jpn), Dimitrios Papadatos (Aus), (a) Thomas Thurloway
90 David Duval (USA)