Many great rounds begin with a bogey and that was certainly the case for Shane Lowry as he carded a near flawless 68 to get himself right in contention heading into moving day at the 86th Masters at Augusta National.
“I didn’t enjoy it really much at all. It was so hard out there,” joked Lowry after his round which leaves him in a four-way tie for third place and five shots back from 36-hole leader Scotty Scheffler.
After the opening blemish, Lowry’s was mixed with 12 pars and five birdies which moved him right into Scheffler’s rear view mirror.
“I think It was one of my better rounds of my career,” said Lowry after his round. “It was quite tricky out there, quite difficult, and I managed to play some good golf and hole some nice putts at the right times. I’m, obviously, very happy with my score. I was a lot more disappointed standing here yesterday, and, yeah, I’m in a great position going into the weekend.”
Lowry was striking the ball beautifully and following near tap in birdies on the second and the par-4 seventh, the Clara-man miscued his approach to the 10th short-siding himself twenty yards from the tightly cut back right pin.
Looking in trouble, Lowry played a sublime pitch that landed in the perfect spot, released out and found the bottom of the cup for the most unlikely birdie, a real momentum builder for what was to follow on his back nine assault.
“Oh, you’re saving two shots there. I was hitting that chip. It was a very sandy lie. It wasn’t a great position. I wanted do hit it 10, 15 feet and give myself a chance of a par and not make double. That’s kind of what you are doing out here on a day like today. You’re just trying to at worse make bogeys and then take your birdies when you get the chance.
“But yeah, that obviously kick-started the round. From there on I played beautiful for the rest of the round as well and gave myself a few chances and the two par saves that I needed to save as well.”
With temperatures forecast to drop further and the wind continuing to blow, Lowry is right in his comfort zone to make a weekend charge and try to become the first Irishman to wear green at Augusta.
“It’s going to be hard. Look, I’m in a great position. You’re going to need everything to go your way to be standing there getting green on Sunday. I’m where I want to be. I’m where I need to be. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be hard, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Lowry who thrives on tougher conditions is well aware of the stern test that lays ahead of him over the weekend but is very comfortable in the tough surroundings.
“It’s tricky. It’s hard. This place is hard at the best of times. When you are throwing a 20 or 30-mile-an-hour gust of wind in there, you get down to Amen Corner, you won’t believe how hard it is down there and how easy it looks maybe on TV, but it’s just brutal, it’s so hard,” he added.
“I do play well in tough conditions. I much prefer the scoring be like this than 20-under winning. This is where I think I thrive in these kind of conditions.”
“Knowing Augusta, it will probably be easier pins on Sunday. Scoring might get a little better on Sunday, but tomorrow you need to put yourself in a position to give yourself a chance on Sunday, so that’s my goal for tomorrow.”
Reminded of his interview post round of losing out to a freak storm on the last hole that cost Lowry the Honda Classic last month he was reminded that he said the golfing Gods didn’t have his back last month and he was hoping they would have his back in the future, Lowry just smiled and declared:
“Yeah, I’m hoping. I’ll need every type of God on my side this weekend.” Lowry tees off in the penultimate group at 19:40 in the company of Sungjae Im