Shane Lowry casts himself into spotlight at Portrush; Jackie Tyrrell on stepping up at crunch time

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Ireland’s Shane Lowry tees off from the second hole during the first round of the British Open. Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images

Ireland’s Shane Lowry tees off from the second hole during the first round of the British Open. Photo: Glyn Kirk/Getty Images

Well, what a contrasting day it proved to be at Portrush on Thursday. If there were two things a first Major championship on the island of Ireland in 68 years shoot 78. But that’s what happened and now both men will need something very special indeed if they are to even make the cut today. However, Shane Lowry flies the Irish flag at the top of the leaderboard after a superb opening round of 67 to sit one behind leader JB Holmes. Lowry was out early yesterday morning and dropped just one shot on his way to shooting four under on a course where he knows how to win after he claimed the Nortprobably did not need it was for Rory McIlroy to shoot 79 and Tiger Woods to h of Ireland trophy here in his amateur days. Afterwards he told Philip Reid that his plan had been to come under the radar a bit but that’s probably not going to be possible now. For McIlroy it was a disaster start to finish after he opened with an eight and finished with a seven on what was a hugely disappointing day and one he had been anticipating for years. And it wasn’t much better for Woods. On a day when the showers came and went, Woods looked a shadow of his former self as he stiffly walked around the course on his way to a total of seven over par. Afterwards Woods admitted that, after his numerous operations, it’s much harder to be fully fit when the conditions are that bit cooler. Play is underway on day two at Portrush where Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and leader JB Holmes are among the early starters. You can follow all of the action throughout the day on our liveblog.

Moving on to GAA and Jackie Tyrrell writes in his column this morning that last week’s victory for Kilkenny was an example of the star players stepping up when they were most-needed. The former Kilkenny man looks back at this year’s Super Bowl as an example of when the key decisions were made in a crunch time. “What was really interesting that night was what went on in crunch time, that period in the game when decisions and actions ramped up with their level of importance. When the game was literally on the line and one play could win or lose it. No decisions are made by accident in those moments.” In football, Meath meet Mayo this weekend in the Super 8s with both sides needing a victory after they lost their opening games last weekend. Seán Moran writes that, although these teams haven’t met too often throughout history, Meath can take some encouragement from the times they did.

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