Preparation pays off for Lowry with opening day 68 at Augusta

John Shortt

Shane Lowry (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry opened his account with a superb round of 68 after a steady start at Augusta National that was kicked into action with a run of three birdies from the 7th.

Ahead of some questionable weather over the coming days Lowry finds himself T6 (at the time of writing) in the clubhouse and admits he feels pretty good about his day!

“Yeah, it was pretty good. Felt like I was in control of my ball out there today. It was nice. I said to Darren (Reynolds-caddy), I hit my second shot on 18 and I was like, that was a pretty good round of golf. And obviously it’s nice to go up and roll in that putt on the last as well. I’m pretty happy with myself.”


Admittedly he did look pretty comfortable on a course that he’s spent a lot of time playing in recent weeks in preparation for this tournament and it certainly showed in his performance with some monster putts dropping on the 7th and 15th.

“I’ve, yeah, I prepared really hard and really well for this week and it’s satisfying to get off to a good start. But we all know how long there is to go in this tournament. But, yeah, I did prepare probably for — I came here three times in the last three weeks, four weeks, played a lot of golf here. So it’s just a place I feel comfortable at now. But, yeah, I did prepare pretty well for this.

“You’re never comfortable on this place. There’s always, even though I was playing good golf, there’s always, you’ve got — especially when you go on to the back nine, most holes are chances to make birdie and chances to trip you up.

“So you just have to stay patient and stay on your game and in your routine. And that’s what I did. I felt like I did a great job of doing all that today. Like I said, I’m pretty happy with myself.”

With Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm currently leading the way at 7-under and plenty of others in the chasing pack at -5 and -4 the scoring was pretty hot and while you can’t win the tournament on opening day you can certainly shoot yourself out of it, particularly if you have a lot of ground to make up with what looks like wet and windy incoming conditions and Lowry knows the value of having his good score in the bag.

“I think it was important to shoot a good score today. I was trying not to put too much pressure on myself to do so, but, yeah, I knew going into today how important today’s round is because who knows what the next three days are going to hold.

“4-under around here in the opening round is pretty good. I mean, the course was playing a little bit firmer and faster than when we played it the last few days. So, yeah, it wasn’t easy. I mean, the scoring is pretty decent, there’s a few lads going low, but it’s one of those courses that anything under 70 you’ll be pretty happy every day.”

We all know Lowry’s short game is on point and given the struggles Viktor Hovland has had in that area Lowry was asked whether he had empathy for a guy struggling with chipping?

“Not really. He’s 7-under. I think there’s a lot, there’s been a lot of talk over the well the years, the few years that he is out on TOUR, and every time I seem to play with him or see him he chips in. So I know Viktor, I know how hard he works at it and he’s one of the best players in the world and he’ll figure it out.

“I obviously got to know him at the last Ryder Cup. He’s just a great fellow. I was chatting with him in the locker room this morning, he said it’s his first time playing with Tiger. And I said, well that should be interesting. But he’s doing a good job with it today.”

Patience is something Lowry has developed and it’s become a key part of his game. He doesn’t get too flustered by a great or a poor score and for him it’s now all about Friday, posting a good score again and then see where he can take it.

“Yeah, I suppose. I don’t know, to be honest. Like the thing is, like I’m, I think I’m comfortable in my own skin and the way I’m playing and that you just have to keep going, just keep one foot in front of the other and keep going forward. There’s nothing that happened behind you that you can change.

“So whether I shot 68 or 78 today I still have to go and shoot a good score tomorrow. So it’s kind of, it’s one of those where I put that round behind me and put everything behind me and just move on and hopefully I can do it again tomorrow.”

Let’s see what tomorrow will bring for the leading Irishman at The Masters and he tees off 5:18pm Irish time with the tee times moved back 30 minutes than originally planned due to incoming weather.

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