Shane Lowry kickstarted his Tour Championship hopes with an opening 66 to lie on five-under at the BMW Championship in Delaware.
Lowry had been bogey-free until he dropped a shot on the 18th but he played excellent golf for the first seventeen holes with an eagle on the par-5 14th being the highlight.
Despite letting one slip it is a rare, good start in a big tournament and something to build on.
“I’m pretty happy. Obviously a smelly finish, and lunch is not going to taste as nice after that,” said Lowry. “But I feel like over the last month or so, even most of the summer, that I’ve been struggling to get off to good starts in tournaments, and I’ve been playing my way back into them, but I’ve been grinding all week to do that. It was nice to shoot 5-under today and kind of get myself in the tournament pretty quickly.
“Hopefully I can go out and keep playing the golf I am and keep shooting good scores and give myself a chance this weekend.”
Teeing off alongside compatriot Seamus Power in 36th place the Clara native needs a good week and he has got off to the ideal start.
The 2019 Open champion is projected 22nd in the FedEx Cup standings with the top-30 progressing to next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake.
The 35-year-old was solid if unspectacular on his front nine as a lone birdie on the 3rd interrupted eight pars before things exploded into life on the back.
Two birdies in three holes gave Lowry some momentum before a stunning eagle from 56 feet catapulted him into the top-5.
“Yeah, it was just one of those, I like putting on greens like this with a lot of slope in them because you kind of have to be a lot more instinctive and kind of putt with a bit more feel. Yeah, it was just one of those where you just get it to the top of the hill and hopefully the momentum takes it down. Yeah, it was pretty nice to hole a putt like that. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve holed a long one like that, so I was pretty happy.”
The 2009 Irish Open champion moved to within one of Keegan Bradley’s lead with a birdie on 17 before giving it back on 18 but he was happy to start well and is targeting a first win in three years rather than allowing his mind to fixate on mathematics around East Lake.
“I was actually thinking about that on the course today for some strange reason my mind wanders a lot. I think I just need to focus on trying to win this tournament and trying to do well in this tournament. Look, I’d love to get to East Lake, but I also want to get to East Lake with a chance to kind of do something special. If I wanted to do that, I need to do something very good this week, so I need a really good finish this week, and hopefully that will put me not too far off the leader going into next week, and then you never know what could happen.”
The news was not so good for Power who shot a level-par 71 to lie on level-par, needing a big second round to keep his hopes of a Tour championship debut alive.