Shane Lowry found himself awake at 5am and inspired by watching video clips of his six-week old daughter, Iris ahead of posting a superb five under par 66 on debut in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in South Carolina.
Lowry capped his round by holing a monster 58-foot birdie putt from the back of the green at the last to trail just a shot behind England’s and former World No. 1 Luke Donald who enjoyed the clubhouse lead on six-under par, and in an event he has finished runner up on four occasions including last year. Lowry had raced to four under par through seven holes but dropped shots at nine and 14 before holing a six-footer for birdie at 15 and then a four-footer at the dog-leg 16th.
There had been a long wait on the 18th green with American D. A. Points looking for his ball in the tidal marsh and given Lowry plenty of time to study the putt.
“It was a great way to finish but then I was awake at 5m and I had videos from Wendy of our little girl and it’s just nice and makes you feel so different,” he said.
“Iris has also been sleeping great, sleeping six hours from 12 to six o’clock so that’s been good.”
“But I am still trying to gather my head about that I am playing for her and it’s now probably the only thing that matters in our lives.
“Golf is only a sport and at the end of the day it is my career, but something that I probably put too much pressure on myself.
“And we need to look at what really matters in life, and that’s it.”
After missing the Masters halfway cut by one shot for a second occasion in two years, Lowry spent last Sunday morning along with caddy, manager and five others tackling nine holes of the Sage Valley course located just north west of Augusta.
The eight then returned to their Augusta rented house to watch the final round of the Masters.
“It was such an exciting last round and I know both of them well but I was thrilled for Sergio as I had played the first two rounds with him at The Masters”
“If it had of been Justin and someone else in the playoff last Sunday then the whole world would have been shouting for Justin but I think everyone wanted Sergio to win.”
“And after playing with Sergio those first two rounds I called it that he would win.”
Graeme McDowell, and the only other Irishman in the field, finished on the opposite side of the course with a one over par 71.
“G Mac” was off to an indifferent start when he doubled the par three, 14th he was playing as his fifth when he found the alligator-infested water with his tee shot in taking double bogey. McDowell was grouped with fellow US Open winner, Ernie Els along with England’s Luke Donald.