Shane Lowry left ticked off after group put on the clock
Offalyman can take satisfaction from his battling effort that featured 10 single putts
Shane Lowry on the 10th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
A strange thing happened to Shane Lowry on the second hole, his 11th, of the opening round. His trio of players – including Pablo Larrazabal and club pro Scott Deane – were put on the clock despite being so far in front of the next group that a pair of binoculars would have come in handy to identify the group left behind in their slipstream.
What it did was only exasperate Lowry, who had motored along nicely until that point. A birdie on the first, his 10th, had moved the Offalyman to one under on his card.
“That’s when my round started to tear. It really annoyed me. I am not saying I didn’t put those swings on it but put us out on that golf course with those greens, and you are a few minutes behind, you can’t expect us to rattle along. There are guys making bogeys, double-bogeys in the group and its like, ‘give us a break’.”
But, there was no room for manoeuvre, no give or take on the matter. No break. As the first group away, with a clear run at it, Lowry and Co were picked on as a lesson to others.
“We were in the middle of the second fairway and the guys [behind] weren’t even down to their drives on the first. That I let that get to me was the most disappointing thing. I hit my second shot too quick.”
It led to a bogey. And further bogeys on the fourth, fifth and ninth turned a decent day’s work into an average one as he signed for a 74, three over par.
Frustrated and exasperated with his finish, Lowry could nonetheless take a fair degree of satisfaction from his battling effort that featured 10 single putts.
“What pleased me most was how hard I fought out there. It was quite hard, and I felt like I fought really hard.
“If I had holed that putt on the last [the ninth], I’d have been really happy standing here. I just misread it a little bit. I thought it was going to break more off the slope, but that’s the way it goes. I holed plenty of them. The grain is tricky, and that rough is terrible.”
In fact, that rough, especially around the greens, had played on his mind and led to Lowry having a pre-tournament chat with renowned Pete Cowen on Wednesday about how other players were playing the thick, clingy Bermuda rough. For the most part, he did well.
“God help anyone who doesn’t drive the ball well out there, it is just so difficult,” said Lowry, who also used his approach shot to the eighth – where he was left with 72 yards to a tight pin and just a couple of yards to land the ball – as an example of how tough the course setup was.
After a 4.30am alarm call and a long walk mostly unspoiled but with sore feet at the end of it all, Lowry retired to his rented house to put those feet up.
“This is very US Open-esque. I like it, though I don’t like the [Bermuda] grass because I am not used to it. I like how hard it is and how pars are good . . . I feel like I played well. I said at the start of the week I wanted to drive it better and to putt better, and that’s kind of what I did.”