Mixed bag for Irish trio at weather-disrupted Houston Open

by | Nov 12, 2021 | 0 comments

Shane Lowry (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Adam McKendry

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Irish stars relishing Mount Juliet homecoming

Irish stars relishing Mount Juliet homecoming

Pádraig Harrington, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power are excited to tee it up in front of the packed home crowds at Mount Juliet Estate for this week’s Horizon Irish Open. The home favourites will be backed by Irish golf fans in their thousands, with a sold-out weekend...

Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry were the best of the Irish on a weather-affected first day at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open as half the field failed to finish their rounds.

Both players are at two-under, however while McDowell is already in the clubhouse, Lowry still has eight holes of his round to finish after an early morning delay resulted in play being suspended due to darkness in the evening.

That has the pair three shots off the early lead, with Russell Henley, Talor Gooch and Marc Leishman all in the clubhouse at five-under after 65s, while Luke List is also five-under but still with three holes left to complete his first round on Friday morning.

It was a tough first day for Seamus Power, though, as the Waterford man carded three bogeys and a double in the eight holes he played to sit four-over and down in a share of 125th.

Lowry will be pleased with his body of work thus far, the former Open champion playing steady golf until he picked up back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth to move under-par.

While he perhaps will be disappointed not to convert an eight-footer for birdie at the seventh, at two-under he has a chance to push up the leaderboard on Friday morning and put himself in a strong position.

Meanwhile, McDowell mixed four birdies and two bogeys in his opening round to sit just outside the top-10, although he will perhaps be frustrated after getting to three-under and falling away.

After three birdies in his opening seven holes, after starting at the 10th, the Rathmore man bogeyed the 18th and the first to fall back to one-under, but he did get back to two-under with a birdie on the third, although a six-foot miss for birdie on the seventh will hurt.

It wasn’t a good afternoon for Power, though, as despite a chip-in birdie two at the par-three 16th, he struggled otherwise in falling to four-over after just eight holes of his tournament, including a double-bogey seven at the par-five 17th after finding the water with his approach. He will return to the course facing a 7-foot putt for bogey on 18, his ninth.

At the top of the leaderboard, List looks the best placed after four birdies and an eagle got him to five-under, tied for the lead with Henley, Gooch and Leishman, who all managed to complete their rounds before the suspension of play.

The 36-year-old American will take plenty of momentum into the resumption as his eagle came on his penultimate hole before the suspension, and he knows the first round lead is there for the taking with a strong finish.

“Kind of an interesting day. We knew we weren’t going to finish so just trying to get as much as we could in,” admitted List.

“The course was gettable today, a little softer conditions from the rain this morning. I was pretty patient today. Hit some good shots obviously, and I think you can take advantage of your length out there. I’m hitting a lot of drivers, which is nice for me, and I like the golf course a lot.”

Henley and Leishman both mixed six birdies and one bogey in their 65s in Houston, while Gooch had one more of each to hold a share of the lead having completed 18 holes.

The quartet are a shot ahead of former PGA champion Jason Dufner, who completed his round by signing for a four-under 66, with six players at three-under in a share of sixth, including Adam Long and Martin Trainer who have both only played 11 holes.

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