One-over for Lowry as Fleetwood storms to first round lead at Quail Hollow

Mark McGowan

Shane Lowry (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

Feature Interviews

Latest Stories

It was a case of some good, some not so good for Shane Lowry as he shot an opening one-over 72 at the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, but close friend Tommy Fleetwood found his rhythm to take first-round leader honours with a bogey-free 66.

Earlier in the day, Rory McIlroy has signed for a three-under 68, with Seamus Power taking one stroke more to lie T25 at -2, and you can read detailed reports of their rounds here.

Playing alongside Adam Scott and Sam Burns, Lowry began his round with a bogey at the first, failing to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker, but he’d drain a 21-footer on the third to get back to level-par. He’d make a wonderful par-save from over the back of the green on the par-3 fourth, and with the putter heating up nicely, canned another 23-footer on the sixth to get into red figures.

Despite finding the water with his second shot on the par-5 seventh, he’d show off his short game skills again to save par, before hitting one of the shots of the day at the short par-4 eighth as he drove the green to leave himself a 14-foot eagle putt. The eagle attempt would slide by, but a tap in birdie took him to -2 for the day and things were looking extremely bright for the Offaly star.

Sadly though, it would be the last birdie of the day, and he’d immediately give a shot back at the ninth with an under-hit approach finding the sand. Further bogeys would follow at 11 and 13, the first when he three-putted from 49 feet and the second after he pulled his tee shot at the par-3 and was a little heavy-handed with his chip.

The round was in danger of unravelling completely when he pulled his drive at the reachable par-4 14th, finding the hazard and forced to take a drop in the rough some 130 yards from the hole. Impressively, he’d hit it to nine feet and hole for a bleed-stopping par, and though he’d again fail to get up-and-down from the sand on the par-5 15th, the resulting par would be the second of five in succession as he navigated the difficult ‘Green Mile’ stretch without any further dropped shots.

The round of one-over sees Lowry in a tie for 79th, and with a quick turnaround, will likely have to hit the red figures in round two if he’s to avoid the 36-hole cut.

Playing four groups in front of Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood was having no such struggles. The man paired with Lowry as he stormed to his Open Championship victory at Portrush in 2019 reeled off six pars to start his campaign before making light work of the par-5 seventh to leave himself an eight-foot eagle putt that he’d duly dispatch, before adding another birdie at the short eighth as he’d make the turn at -3.

He’d pick up three more strokes on the back nine, taking care of the drivable 14th, before signing off in style with birdies at 17 and 18 to take the outright lead.

Still searching for his first PGA Tour win, Fleetwood’s game has been trending in the right direction of late, though he himself finds it hard to pin down exactly where the improvements lie.

“It’s not that much different,” he said. “Game’s tough. I don’t think — in general, if you’re doing the right things, you’re never that far away, it just feels that way sometimes. For me, just started shooting some scores, playing pretty consistent and then I just have to keep going and wait for those really big results and hopefully start contending again up at the top of the leaderboard and we’ll see what we can do from there.

“Sure, it’s nice to be playing well. It’s always nice when we all work so hard and we all put so much into it, the times when you actually get something to show for it, it’s always nice and you have to appreciate those times. Look, today was just another round of golf. There’s a lot more to play, a lot more to play in the year. But yeah, good rounds builds confidence and that’s the only way sort of you can gain confidence is by going out there and playing well. See if we can keep it up.”

Playing the ‘Green Mile’ in two-under, nobody fared better over the tough closing stretch than the popular man from Southport.

“Well, yeah, I mean, look, you have to hit the golf shots,” he said when asked if players can sometimes talk themselves into trouble on the difficult holes, “there’s no doubt about that. Yeah, you can obviously look at it as you can make it as daunting or as simple as you want to make it. There’s somebody that’s going to hit a great shot on all of those holes today, like the shot today at 18, I made a birdie. There’s good shots out there and you have to always be looking for them and you always have to feel like you can hit one of those. Whether you do or not is a different story, but believing you can is the first part.”


Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.