Shane Lowry admits he was pleased to overcome a slight dip in confidence after bouncing back from last week’s missed cut in Abu Dhabi with a two-under par 70 on day one of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Out in the afternoon part of the draw, the Clara star picked up shots at the par-5 third and the par-4 eighth to reach the turn in two-under par. With three par-5s on the easier homeward nine, the 33-year old would’ve expected to add to his tally but failed to birdie 10 and 13 before dropping consecutive shots at the 15th and 16th.
Back to even par for the day despite playing nicely, Lowry went to the well for water and pulled out two of his best swings with the driver on 17 and 18, returning to minus-two with successive birdies to close out his opening day in a tie for 20th.
“Pretty good,” was Lowry’s assessment of his opening day’s work. “I played nice, should’ve been better to be honest. You play the front nine around here in two-under and you should be able to shoot a really good score after that because you have three par-5s on the back nine. I’d a couple of bad holes on 15 and 16 but I finished very well so I’m happy enough.”
“It would’ve been disappointing not to shoot under par the way I played. You know, after last week I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence coming into this week so I’m happy to be able to shoot a decent number and hopefully I can go out tomorrow morning in some nice conditions and shoot a better score again.”
Having finished 11th at Emirates Golf Club last year and 12th the year before that, Lowry will now be hoping to kick his Ryder Cup qualification bid into gear by building on the solid foundation he’s laid on day one in the desert. After blowing the cobwebs off last week despite a missed cut in Abu Dhabi, Lowry is hoping that with renewed confidence, coupled with a growing trust in his new driver given the way he played the last two holes on Thursday, that his best is yet to come this week in Dubai.
“I lacked a bit of confidence after last week but I don’t think I played too badly. I’d a couple of bad holes [in Abu Dhabi] but that’s the way it goes first tournament of the year,” Lowry added. “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve a new driver in the bag and I’m still kinda trying to fall in love with it… trying to get used to it, but I hit a couple of really good drives at the end which I was happy with so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come tomorrow.”
Meanwhile Lowry’s pre-tournament chipping comp rival, and the man whose team he hopes to be on come September at Whistling Straits, European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington was again on-song in carding an opening 71 to sit one shot behind Lowry. Harrington traded three birdies and two bogeys to sit inside the top-40 after day one as he looks to build on playing all four rounds last week in Abu Dhabi where he banked €17,426 for a share of 62nd.
The news wasn’t so good for Graeme McDowell who posted five bogeys and just a single birdie at the 18th in an opening 76 to sit at four-over. South African Richard Sterne leads the way atop the board after firing a scintillating eight-under par round of 64. He heads American Kurt Kitayama by a stroke with Justin Harding and Sergio Garcia locked together in a tie for third at six-under.
- Full scoring HERE