Shane Lowry / Image from Getty Images
Lowry was teeing-up at nearby Spyglass Hill, named in honour of Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson who was a regular visitor to the region and the Offaly golfer, who had teed-off first from the 10th hole at 8am local time, ended his round some five-hours and 15-minutes later with a one-under par 71.
This week’s event is Lowry’s first PGA Tour appearance in some six months since losing his Tour card with his round including four birdies and three bogeys under a preferred lie rule given the softness of all three host courses after so much rain of late.
“I am pleased in holing a couple of nice par-saving putts there at the end of my round,” he said.
“Overall, I didn’t play that great so it could have been worse and it could have been better. In saying that the golf course was there for the taking this morning as there was just no wind.”
“So, if I had of shot level or over-par I would be standing here very unhappy.”
Lowry ended his round sharing 68th place in the now 155-player field and is heading to Pebble Beach for round two with a 90% chance of rain.
Lowry was spotted ahead of the start to the Euro 6.64m event with some six different drivers in his Srixon bag, having won in Abu Dhabi packing the new Callaway ‘Epic Flash’ driver, but after much time on the Pebble Beach range, the current World No. 44 went with a Srixon driver.
“I drove the ball just alright at Abu Dhabi but I wasn’t hitting as many fairways as I would have liked,” he said.
“But in switching to the Srixon today, I hit the ball great so that will be staying in bag.”
There was a virtual Irish domination of the first match with all but one of the eight walking in the first match being Irish-born. There was Lowry along with caddy, Bo Martin. Gerry McManus, Lowry’s amateur partner, with Ronan Flood the long-time caddy to the presently injured Padraig Harrington, calling the shots for McManus.
In the group also was Colin Byrne the Irish-born caddy to Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello with Cabrera-Bello’s amateur partner, Dermot Desmond who had Rory McIlroy’s former caddy, J P Fitzgerald on the bag.