Bernie McGuire, Albany, The Bahamas.
Shane Lowry emerged from the scorer’s hut smiling and declaring: “Why am I playing golf in December?” after a disappointing two-over 74 on the opening day of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
Lowry ended his maiden round in the Tiger Woods hosted event sharing 15th place in the 20-player, $US3m field played under a ‘preferred lie’ rule, in effect on a very rain-softened Albany host course.
The Offaly golfer’s round was a sweet and sour mix of three birdies at holes 11, 14 and 15 sandwiched among double-bogeys at the 10th and 16th holes when he found water and needed to take a penalty drop at each hole.
Heavy rain on Wednesday and again just prior to tee-off on Thursday made for difficult scoring, along with mud balls, as reflected with just eight players broking par headed by the foursome, at three-under of South Korean Tom Kim, Austrian Sepp Straka, Norwegian Viktor Holvand and newly married Collin Morikawa.
The rain on Wednesday meant Lowry, with coach Neil Manchip on the bag in tournament competition for the first time in some four years, only played six holes of the pro-am when rain saw officials cancel the pro-am.
As such, Lowry was teeing-up in the competition proper playing holes seven to 18 ‘blind’ and after parring the six opening holes, it was those closing 12 holes that proved costly.
“I am now so looking forward to taking time off after this week, believe you me,” he said smiling.
“I was thinking, and particularly after finding the water on 10 and taking a double, what am I doing playing golf in December.
“Today was pretty much what my game was like a few weeks ago in Dubai as there was a lot of good stuff but some stupid mistakes. It was December golf, end of the year golf out there.
“Of course, the rain stoppages we had yesterday didn’t help, as I played holes seven to 18 blind not having played them before teeing-up. Neil and I did drive around holes seven, eight and nine this morning but it’s not the same without a club in your hand.
“So, I am putting my score down, and the two bad drives I hit on 10, and having to take penalty drops, as I didn’t really know where I was going.
“And there’s no way I can blame my caddy (smiling) so, yeah, we’ll be a lot stronger tomorrow.”
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— ⛳️TOURMISS ⛳️ (@TOURMISS) December 1, 2022