Shane Lowry was left to rue an ice cold putter and a rough draw that sees him trailing a full seven strokes behind the first round leaders after day one of the Turkish Airlines Open.
The Clara golfer had opened in tremendous fashion, very nearly eagling the opening hole before stitching his approach to the second, but Lowry missed what looked to be an inevitable second birdie from just three feet, failing to pick up another shot on the day before losing one on the par-5 13th and signing for a frustrating even par round of 72.
“Yeah, it kind of shocked me,” Lowry said of his short miss on the second.
“I hit it into three feet and then missed and I was like, ‘wow’, I didn’t even hit the hole, I missed it by an inch and I was thinking ‘I haven’t hit a putt like that since I can’t remember when’.
“Then I did the same on the next – I hit two great shots into 4. I had 20 feet there, left it three feet short and from then on, I just couldn’t get the ball to the hole all day. I struggled, and it even affected … my pitch shot on the last, you’re kind of thinking so hard to hit the perfect shot that if I was putting alright, you’re hitting it up there to eight feet and you’re holing it. It’s probably a mindset thing but I struggled from the misses early on.”
With all those around him seemingly scoring well, Lowry cut a frustrating figure in the clubhouse and finds himself languishing outside the top-50 after the opening 18 holes. Ranked third on the Race to Dubai, Lowry was out in the marquee last group of the day, a draw that he believes contributed to his day’s downfall.
“The greens are not great to be honest,” Lowry said. “I’m not going to stand here and give out too much but being last off wasn’t a great draw here today.”
“I played lovely, I can’t play any better than I did today – I just literally couldn’t get the ball in the hole from three feet. I barely missed a three footer all year and I missed three of them in quick succession today. Look, it is what it is. What can I do other than try and go out tomorrow and do a little better?”
Lowry’s pre-tournament chipping contest partner and three time Major Champion, Padraig Harrington didn’t enjoy the best of days in Antalya either.
The Dubliner returned a three-over par 75 in a round that included a quintuple-bogey 10 at the par-5 fifth and sits in 71st position at plus-three heading into day two.
Despite his frustrations with his own play, the European Ryder Cup Captain had the opportunity to oversee some quality golf from potential Ryder Cup bolters in Matthias Schwab – the Austrian impressing the skipper to be leading alongside England’s Tom Lewis at seven-under par, and Victor Perez – the Frenchman alongside caddie JP Fitzgerald in the clubhouse at four-under.
“Matthias played very well – I assume he would have been under some bit of pressure too,” Harrington added.
“It was a good sign and he is certainly well able to play the game that’s for sure. There are plenty of young guys out there fighting and it’s hard for them to set themselves apart, but Victor and Matthias are certainly doing that. It’s difficult for these young guys to make a claim, it’s tough to distinguish yourself in the modern game.
“I am bound to have two or three rookies at least in the team next year so we will see how it progresses over the next year.
Harrington was then asked if he liked putting pressure on the younger players and he admitted,
“That’s not my plan at all but I find it interesting,” he confessed. “I quite enjoy that position to see how they react. I am not there to test them though, I am just there to go out and play with them and get to know them.
“At the end of the day, if these guys play their way into the team, it’s irrelevant what I think. But if there is experience automatically in the team you are going to be picking rookies and if there are rookies in automatically then you are picking experience. They just need to play golf and let their clubs do the talking. That’s always the best way.”
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