Shane Lowry joked that he hoped his and playing partner Ian Poulter’s matching trousers would bring them some good luck this week after a solid start to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The Offaly man has teamed up with his European Ryder Cup team-mate for this week’s event at TPC Louisiana and the duo began the tournament with an eight-under 64 in Thursday’s better-ball format to sit just outside the top-10.
It was Lowry who did most of the scoring, contributing seven of their nine birdies on day one as they lie five shots off early leaders Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, who dovetailed superbly for a 13-under 59.
However, the main talking point of Lowry and Poulter’s round wasn’t their golf, rather the bold fashion decision of the pair wearing matching blue-and-white checked trousers in New Orleans!
When asked whose idea it was to go matching, Lowry laughed: “It wasn’t mine! We’ve got a bit of green on us for tomorrow so hopefully it’ll bring some luck. It’s just a bit of fun – this is the last time these will ever be coming out of my wardrobe!”
As for the golf itself, Lowry admitted it was good to go out and have a bit of fun at an event that is treated by most players as a chance to blow off some steam after a run of tournaments that includes The Players, a World Golf Championship and The Masters.
“Yeah, we did have fun and we played alright. So we had a good day,” added Lowry.
“It’s been a long couple of months. The only thing that keeps me going this week is that I have a good partner and we had a good bit of craic out there.”
The all-Irish pairing of Seamus Power and Graeme McDowell are one shot further back after a seven-under 65 in their opening round, with McDowell contributing four of their seven birdies in a more even share of the load that has them tied for 28th.
Cantlay and Schauffele were on top form at TPC Louisiana on day one as they finished with 11 birdies and an eagle in a superb 59, a Zurich Classic of New Orleans 18 hole scoring record. Cantlay the one to record the eagle on the par-five second but Schauffele edging him by one on the birdie count with six.
Their lead is one shot over the pairing of Matthew NeSmith and Taylor Moore – who had six birdies and an eagle by himself – who signed for a 60.
Intriguingly, Robert Garrigus, who earlier this week requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in the first Saudi-backed event, the LIV Invitational, is tied for third with partner Tommy Gainey after they shot an 11-under 61, a score matched by the pairings of David Lipsky and Aaron Rai, and Sam Burns and Doc Redman.
Friday’s second round will be played in the alternate shot format, before reverting back to better-ball on Saturday and finally alternate shot once more for Sunday’s final round.