Lowry headed straight for pre-school after lively Honda opener

Bernie McGuire
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Lowry headed straight for pre-school after lively Honda opener

Shane Lowry in action in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry was not hanging about in heading to pick-up his daughter Iris from pre-school after posting a three-under 67 on the opening day of the Honda Classic in Florida.

Lowry managed four birdies and dropped just one shot to end his round around 1pm local time before he and wife Wendy jumped into his courtesy car to collect his soon-to-be four-year-old who was introduced to the bigger sporting world for the first time when Lowry won the 2019 Open Championship.

Lowry is returning to competition buoyed by last Sunday’s timely eighth-place finish at the Players Championship, also after having had two days of practice on Monday and Tuesday at Augusta National. And while Lowry struggled in hitting just five of 14 PGA National fairways, he hit 11 of 18 greens and the Clara golfer had just 26 putts.

Pick of Lowry’s birdies was probably the par-4 second hole he was playing as his 11th where Lowry landed a 202-yard second shot to just three-feet for birdie. The effort left Lowry trailing six shots behind Aussie Matt Jones who posted a blistering bogey-free nine-under par 61, including playing the famed ‘Bear Trap’, the 15th, 16th and 17th holes, in two-under whereas Lowry made his way through the ‘Bear Trap’ trio in level par.

However, in the bigger 18-hole Honda Classic first day picture, the overall performance left Lowry very pleased.

“Any time you shoot under par on this course you’re pretty happy,” said Lowry. “The wind actually got up pretty early today. When we made it to the 14th, or our fifth, it started to get up. It’s just so hard, so tricky. There’s a lot of disaster holes. Whatever Matt Jones did I want to see it because 61 out there is incredible. It’s just incredible. But I’m very happy with my 67.”

The last time the Lowry’s had been in the States as a family was last year when they rented premises on the Mirasol Resort a short drive outside the front gates of PGA National and literally straight across PGA Boulevard.

And now back in Palm Beach Gardens, it makes for an easy drive from the Honda Classic host course to collect his young daughter. And Lowry was clearly looking forward to seeing her, especially having spent last week at The Players and then two days earlier this week at Augusta National.

“I’m heading off now to collect her from school and really looking forward to seeing her,” he said. “We’ll play and I’m sure we’ll have a good afternoon, so it’ll be nice.”

Lowry is playing the opening two rounds in an all-Open Championship threesome of Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson. Johnson finished also with a 67 while the now 50-year-old Mickelson signed off for a one-over par 71.

Double Honda Classic winning Padraig Harrington was hanging in nicely until the last handful of holes in posting a two-over par 72. Harrington, out from the 10th hole, was one-under standing on his 14th, the par-3 fifth hole, but put his tee shot into the water guarding the green in taking a double-bogey ‘5’ while at his last he posted a bogey. Earlier, Harrington had recorded three birdies and just as many bogeys on this outward half before a fourth birdie of his round at his 12th hole.
And Graeme McDowell continues to struggle, slumping to joint last among the morning starters with a shock nine-over par 79. Padraig Harrington was even par through six holes at the time of writing.

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