Back nine charge lifts Lowry into the mix at Torrey

Ronan MacNamara
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Shane Lowry (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Shane Lowry knuckled down on the back nine to birdie six of his last eight holes and surge into the mix on the opening day of the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines.

Lowry finished with three successive birdies on the North Course to cap off a blistering closing stretch as he moved into a share of 4th place on six-under-par with a round of 66, just two shots off the early leader Kevin Yu.

The Offaly man made the ideal start with an opening birdie before a rollercoaster run around the turn of bogey, birdie, birdie, bogey, bogey left him at level-par through ten holes before he regained his focus.

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“I was kind of not lost, I was just lost in my mind. I was just kind of having a nice time going around,” explained Lowry.

“I had a great group. Harris English is a great guy and obviously Sepp [Straka], myself and Sepp formed a nice relationship at Ryder Cup last year. So great group there today, so just enjoyed myself out there. Made a couple of sloppy bogeys, but after that I felt like I played some lovely golf on the way in, hit some lovely shots and kind of rolled in the putts I needed.”

Lowry has prioritised the PGA Tour this month in order to play his way into the signature events with his spot in next week’s Pebble Beach event not guaranteed. Needing to be inside the top-30 in the Official World Golf Rankings or the top-5 FedEx Cup points scorers for the opening swing of events, a missed cut last week dented his chances.

A good finish is needed this week to at least increase his chances of securing an invite to Pebble Beach.

“I love the west coast of America, I love coming over here and playing. This has always been one of my favorite stops. Just the way my career’s gone the last few years, I started my season in Europe. Obviously this year I made the decision to come over here, play a little bit on the west coast, try and make some much needed FedExCup points because it’s going to be a quick season this year. Didn’t go to plan last week, but I felt like I played very good golf most of the week. I went out there and continued on today and managed to roll a few putts in, I was pretty happy with myself.”

Meanwhile, Seamus Power’s slow return from a persistent hip injury continued as he carded a two-over 74 on the South Course.

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