Shane Lowry did well to keep his emotions in check after the bitter disappointment of posting a triple bogey ‘6’ just two holes from the finish on day two of the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
Lowry had earlier brilliantly muscled his way to a share of seventh place with five birdies when the threat of an electrical storm halted play just prior to 5pm local time. At the time, Lowry had jumped 55 places to be lying at two under par.
Then, after playing his tee shot at the par four 16th, Lowry was all ready to hit a 9-iron into green when the siren sounded to halt play. He joined others then in returning after a delay of 1 hour and 43 minutes to resume his round but now undecided on whether to take a 9-iron or play an 8-iron following the downpour. Fortunately, he hit a superb 9-iron that spun back some 50-feet for a two-putt par to stay at two-under.
However, in taking his stance on the par three, 17th he was distracted by a marshal who sung out “Quite, Please” just on the start of his backswing. Lowry backed-off but then played an indifferent shot that missed the green some 21-yards right of the hole from where the current World No. 83 mishit his second only to see his ball clear the green and run down the slope and into the water guarding the entire left side to leave him absolutely shell-shocked.
He and caddy, Dermot Byrne made this way to the ‘drop zone’ and from where Lowry two-putted from 13-feet.
Then to his enormous credit Lowry, having every good cause to be fuming, played two superb shots at the 18th with the first being a 299-yard drive and the second, a 199-yard effort to some 10-15 feet for an eventual closing par.
And in a superb sign of how much he had control of his emotions, Lowry first agreed to be interviewed by a very amateurish BBC TV crew who had to ask what score he shot and after the first question remarkably sought to quiz Lowry about an earlier story in the week dealing with his move next year to the U.S.
Fortunately, Lowry spoke in more detail to those who know him well about what took place on the 17th tee.
“It was marshal but listen, I don’t like blaming people,” he said. “I was over it the first time and he told the crowd — all 12 people that were beside the tee — to stay still. So, I backed off and hit … an unbelievably bad shot. A bad shot would have been just right of the green where Pablo (Larrazabal) was able to putt up. It would have been easy.”
“I had an 8-iron in my hands on the 17th and I was licking my chops at the thoughts of giving me another birdie,” he said. “I just got distracted on the tee and made a bad swing and hit a bad shot and ended-up making a triple bogey.”
“I do have to look at the positives as the golf I played was more than good enough to win any tournament. I am in a nice position going into the weekend and I know Kevin is leading at 8-under but this golf course is going to play pretty difficult over the weekend so I will just go out and keep doing what I have been doing.”
“I am very proud of myself as I wasn’t feeling all that great standing on the 18th tee but I hit two unbelievable shots into the last, and into about 10-feet, and while it was disappointing not to hole that birdie putt on the last … fairly disappointed now but I will be fine.”
“Overall, my play today was as good as it has been for the last couple of years as I was hitting the ball lovely. I just got myself in trouble on one hole. This game puzzles me every day of the week and even like today, one of my best days of the year I am still disappointed coming off but this is what this game does to you.”
“It is mentally very challenging and I am a fighter and I will fight on, and I will stick my head down and keep grinding hard as I can, and I will do alright”.