By Bernie McGuire at Carnoustie
Shane Lowry was pleased to get a scorecard into his back pocket for the first time since his triumph in the BMW PGA Championship at a benign Carnoustie course on day one of the Alfred Dunhill Links.
Lowry posted a two-under-par 70 in the easiest Carnoustie, one three Alfred Dunhill Links host venues, has played for many a year in this, the 21st hosting of the pro-amateur event.
The Clara golfer started his round from the 10th and a look at Lowry’s card shows four birdies, at his fifth and sixth holes, as well as his 10th and 11th holes. His only bogeys were at his opening hole and also his sixth.
Lowry’s caddy, Bo Martin said the pick of the birdies was his 6-iron, from 181-yards out into his fourth, the par-4 13th on his card.
“I played alright after an iffy start, and played well at the end despite missing a few good chances,” said Lowry.
“Also, today was as easy as you will ever see Carnoustie play. There was hardly any wind, no rough.”
Lowry is returning to competition after a fortnight’s break following his triumph at Tour HQ in capturing the flagship BMW PGA Championship. He spent a week at home and was also in a chilled-out mood last week playing social rounds with three of his closest mates back home on three of Ireland’s golfing gems – Portmarnock, Lahinch and Tralee.
“It was good to get back into competition after two great weeks off and while two-under is not the best score St. Andrews and Kingsbarns Links are going to be so much easier than today, so hopefully I can get out there before the bad weather at Kingsbarns and see if I can make a score.”
And speaking of the weather, with the forecast at around 2pm of 46 mph winds and a 100% chance of rain at Kingsbarns, Lowry will be out to make the most of what looks like bing a brutal day on the links.
“We could be out there for a long time tomorrow, so …(laughing) we could be in for a very long day,” he said.
“Also, Kingsbarns is probably the toughest in any bad weather as the most exposed of the three courses but I’m going to say because I’m pessimistic (smiling).
“Saying that if there’s one place of the three venues you would want to be in the bad weather is St. Andrews but you would not wish to be here (Carnoustie) or Kingsbarns.”
Rory McIlroy signed for a four-under par 68 at Carnoustie while fellow Ulsterman Jonathan Caldwell matched that score, taking full advantage also of the similar near benign conditions at Kingsbarns Links
The Clandeboye attached player, starting from the 10th, parred his opening nine holes before a first birdie at the slightly downhill to the water first hole on the card.
Caldwell then capped his round holing an eagle ‘3’ putt at the par-5 third hole that runs along the shoreline at the famed Kyle Phillips-design layout ahead of a birdie at the uphill par-5 seventh that is the No. 1 hole on the Kingsbarns Links scorecard.
Padraig Harrington posted four birdies in his round but then one less bogey than Lowry in his score of a three-under 69.
Frenchman Romain Langasque leads the championship by a shot after a brilliant opening round display of matching the Old Course record with an 11-under-par 61.
Langasque, 27, grabbed eagles and eight birdies, along with a lone bogey, in a score also that matched the score of 61 set byf England’s Ross Fisher in the final round of the 2017 event that saw him finish runner-up.