Shane Lowry was proud of the way he fought back from a bogey-bogey start but was headed straight to the range after he signed for a one-over 71 as his long-awaited defence of The Open Championship finally got underway at Royal St. George’s.
With his name announced as defending champion on the opening tee-box a little before 10am on Thursday morning, Lowry found trouble in the right rough before slashing out and making bogey in what would set the tone for an errant display off the tee for the now 34-year old.
Grinding as ever, he found birdies at 6 before a stunning approach from the high hay on 12 led to another but there were bogeys too at 11 and 15 before two birdies at 16 and 17 following two superb approaches returned the 2019 winner to even par.
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There he would’ve loved to stay before an unfortunate bounce left off his drive sent his ball in the fairway bunker down the last with Lowry unable to get up and down from 70-yards before posting a closing bogey for a one-over effort.
“I’d say I played pretty average,” Lowry admitted. “I didn’t play my best golf. But then again, you’re playing with Louis [Oosthuizen] who’s shooting 6-under and playing great. It kind of makes you feel probably a little bit different.
“Disappointed to bogey the last. I think if I would have parred the last and shot level par I would have been quite happy with myself going home this afternoon, but I didn’t. I got an unfortunate bounce and went into the bunker and made bogey. But I battled hard. I was quite proud of myself.”
“I’m going to hit a few drives when I finish here and hopefully sort something out for tomorrow.”
Having waited some two years to finally defend the Claret Jug he won in front of adoring fans at Royal Portrush, a bogey-bogey start certainly wasn’t what the Clara man had envisaged but after some early nerves, Lowry was able to knuckle down to some work and enjoy the occasion; one most golfers can only dream:
“It was great. It was a very special day for me,” Lowry said.
“The announcement on the first tee, I’ve been waiting over a year for that, so it’s quite nice. It was quite unsettling at the start. I got off to a pretty nervy start. I battled hard for the rest of it.
“But it’s so good to have the crowds here and it’s so good to be playing in the Open Championship like we know. Like the big grandstands and the big crowds and getting clapped on the grandstands and on the tees, that’s pretty cool.”
- Full scoring HERE