Shane Lowry’s thrill in being introduced on the opening tee as the 2019 Open Champion was spoiled when he walked from the final green clearly bitterly disappointed in posting a level par 72 on day one of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Lowry teed-up alongside now fellow Open Champions Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari and it was the Italian finishing stronger than his pair of Irish-born rivals.
Molinari, who had gleaned so much confidence in May last year in going head-to-head with McIlroy to set the cornerstone for his best-ever season on Tour, posted a three-under 69 to end the round sharing 14th place.
England’s Matt Wallace heads the now 131-player field after posting an eagle and five birdies for a score of seven-under par 65, after finishing third last week in the KLM Open.
Lowry’s effort of just two birdies and a similar number of bogeys, included the clear bitter disappointment of coming ‘up short’ of the green at the last, and handed the Offaly golfer a share of 69th place.
“I got nothing out of that round to be honest,” said Lowry.
“I hit some nice shots and burned the edge all day, and then go into the last with a lovely drive. I may have stroked the second shot a little bit. I hit a 5-iron to hit it past the flag and just mis-stroked a little bit. I thought it was half-decent.”
“Yeah, I’m a bit frustrated because I could have shot a better score, but look, I feel like I played lovely out there.”
“In saying that, there’s a lot of positives to be taken away from it. There are low scores out there as Matt (Wallace) has shown and that’s the way this course plays.”
“If you play nicely, you can shoot a score. I just didn’t take my chances on the par 5s. If I do that tomorrow, if I birdie the par 5s tomorrow, I should shoot a decent score.”
As for the galleries?
“It was pretty cool to be honest, and it was nice getting announced on the first tee,” he said.
“I try not to think about it too much because I know I have a job at hand ahead of me but it is nice.”
Though the competitor that is Lowry knows that you get no benefit or favour being a tournament winner, whether or not it is a major. His name will always now be linked to golf’s oldest major but for his Wentworth rivals, the proud Irishman is another rival.
“That’s the thing about golf as nobody cares who won last week,” he said.
“Everyone just wants to win this week. So, it’s kind of — you know, that’s the way the golf game is and that’s the way the golf industry is.”
“Like I said on Wednesday, I will sit back at the end of the season in December, I’ll be pretty happy with my year no matter what happens the next few months, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to go out and play well every day.”
“I’m going to have frustrating days like today and I’m going to have good days along the way.”
“Hopefully I can do go out in round two and shoot a decent one and put myself into position going into the weekend.”