Shane Lowry was clearly delighted with just his second only sub-70 starting PGA Championship round of a 69 on day one at Bellerive.
Lowry’s score was a stroke less his best start in seven PGA’s since a 68 on day one of the opening event four years ago at Valhalla.
The Offlay man was two-under par through eight holes with birdies at the sixth and eighth holes but found himself back to level with bogeys at nine and the par-4 14th where he had to chip some 70-yards backward after his tee shot came to rest near trees.
Lowy then finished on a positive note in holing a 10-footer for birdie at the par-5 17th.
“Overall, I played nice and with the crucial part of my round was making a great five on 14,” he said.
“That was my round, and I did it there. That’s the type of stuff that hasn’t been going my way the past few months, but I knocked that in and birdied 17 and shot one under and I am happy as Larry here.
“I played within myself just plodding my way around, but the tee shot on 14 came out of nowhere really. I haven’t hit a tee shot left in a couple of weeks.
“The way I have been hitting the ball the last few weeks I have been taking the left side out of play a lot, and it’s just one those shots, and I did well to make five.”
And after a good bogey on 14, Lowry singled out his shot-of-the-day coming at the tough par-3 sixth hole in clearing the water guarding the green with a 221-yard tee shot and holing the six-footer for birdie.
“Six was the highlight as I hit a cut 4-iron straight down the flag and it was one of those ones you don’t have to talk to it,” he said.
“So, to hit the shot and then go up and knock it in was nice. I felt good all day. I feel good, and I am looking forward to relaxing this afternoon.
“It’s been a while since I’ve felt this content after a round as normally when I am doing interviews with you lads, I have my bottom lips hanging out. “
But when asked by the ‘lads’ if he will find his way to the range post lunch, Lowry laughed: “Are you mad! No. I have had an early alarm call every day this week, so I am going to go back to my hotel and relax.”
In contrast, Padraig Harrington was set for an afternoon session on the Bellerive practice putting green after his round of a one-over par 71 that included 32 putts.
Harrington grabbed two birdies but also recorded three bogeys and with two of his dropped shots, at the seventh and 12th, coming from three-putts.
“I struggled a bit with the pace of the greens, a few of the longer putts you have got to hit them hard; and then, the shorter ones, I must have missed half a dozen short putts, that’s a lot,” he said.
“The greens are lovely for holing putts, the ball sticks to the grass nicely I just hit a few bad putts and hit a few good ones that didn’t go in and you are in a lot of doubt. It is hard to get it in the hole at that stage.
“But, I missed six short putts.
“You miss one early and I missed a pretty short one up the hill, missed at sixth and seventh, all of a sudden three dropped shots from nowhere.
“So, I need to practice my putting. I started moving on them. I need to go practice my putting and I’ll do that this afternoon.”
And he’ll be joined by Paul Dunne who found little joy in his maiden PGA Championship signing for a three-over par 73.