Shane Lowry reckons his ‘Clara Jug Syndicate’ is onto a winner after ‘Theatre of War’ finished a gallant seventh in its New Year debut race at Cheltenham.
The Open Champion formed the syndicate that includes his brother and long-time close friends as a thank you for their support following Lowry’s Royal Portrush success.
In a first race late last year, the four-year old gelding ran second at Leopardstown ahead of a two-mile hurdle on Wednesday on the famed England track where he finished a good seventh.
“The horse ran very well in a strong field and we’re really pleased,” said Lowry.
“It got a real sniff over the later stages and that was probably one of the biggest races it has ever run in.
“I have absolutely zero knowledge about the horse-racing business but I do know we’re all very happy, including my brother and one of the lads who were over at Cheltenham, so all goes well.
“I was hoping it may have won for us as when it got to the last jump, I though we have a chance so all goes well for the future.”
And while delighted for the efforts of ‘Theatre of War’, those at the Players Championship chasing Lowry’s autograph were just as thrilled to get the signature of the reigning Open champ.
Lowry and caddy, Brian ‘Bo’ Martin, had been in the hotel room watching coverage of the Cheltenham race at 12.50pm local US time before heading to the TPC Sawgrass course.
Lowry chose to play the back nine but found himself mobbed by autograph hunters as he walked off the 18th green.
The reception was so different to when Lowry first teed-up at the Players in 2015 as the PGA Tour completely overlooked extending an invitation to the Irishman to attend the now customary ‘Meet The Players Championship Rookies’ reception held early each Wednesday on the lawn at the back of the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse.
No such concern this year.
“The reception I have received coming back to the Players as the Open Champion has been fine,” said Lowry.
“Though it’s now no different every other week and that’s due to being the Open Champion.
“This is my sixth visit to Sawgrass and it’s just great being back. The golf course again is in immaculate condition.”
Lowry gets underway at 18.13pm Irish time Thursday.
Full scoring HERE