It wasn’t the start Shane Lowry would have been dreaming of as he saw his opening tee shot career into the trees and his near 20-foot par putt miss the hole as he posted an opening bogey that set the tone for a disastrous six-over par 78 on day one of the Masters at Augusta National.
The Clara golfer bounced back on the third with a booming 320-yard drive at the par-4, which left him just 34 yards for his second shot that set up a calming 20-footer for birdie, but that’s where the good news unfortunately ended for the world number 50.
Lowry endured a terrible run from the 7th which saw him bogey 7, 9, 10, 12 and 13 as he dropped to five over par. Things didn’t get much better on 14 where his drive once again found trees on the right but true to form, the 32-year old performed a miraculous recovery shot to the back of the green and his two-putt par somewhat steadied the ship.
However, a three-putt par on 15 followed and he was once again in trouble at the par-3 16th when his tee shot found the water. To his credit, Lowry fired his third to 20 feet, and followed the approach with a superbly holed putt for a ‘good bogey’ in an otherwise frustrating opening effort for the Offaly favourite.
“I wasn’t good enough,” admitted Lowry post-round. “I don’t know to be honest. I felt good in practice, felt fairly comfortable going out. I didn’t hit that bad of a tee shot on the first and clipped the tree down the right.
“Look, it was kind of like a comedy of errors around the middle of the round. I just kept on making mistake after mistake and what summed it up was a bogey on nine and then a great drive down 10 and short of the green there is just brain dead really. From there I felt I could still shoot a score, which you can around here, then the 3-putt on 15 summed up my whole day.”
Lowry cut a frustrated figure as he tried to put the day into words and having seen his Masters invite go right down to the wire at the Dell-Technologies Match Play, he was understandably frustrated as his good work to get to Augusta came undone at the first hurdle.
“I felt I was going great in practice but when I was going out there it just didn’t happen,” he added.
“Everyone talks about the Masters and everybody was ….it almost gets annoying when you are on the border of getting in and people are annoying you about it. Then you come here and shoot 78 in the first round and you think, what’s the point of being here?
“I think I put too much pressure on myself to get here and then I put too much pressure on myself when I get here to try and do well. It is all internal in my own head, so I just need to relax and let the golf take care of itself. I’m happy to be here but am I happy to be here now? I am not so sure.”
At plus-six for the tournament, Lowry faces an uphill task to make the weekend cut but if he can get his driver to behave tomorrow, anything under par should see him through to Saturday and with 36-holes to play on this golf course, anything can happen.
Onwards and upwards Shane!