By Bernie McGuire, Albany, The Bahamas
Mental note to self, don’t be in Shane Lowry’s way come Sunday afternoon as he walks off the 18th hole of the Albany course here in the Bahamas.
Lowry already has his bags packed and just needs to pack-up his golf attire and clubs ahead of making his way to nearby Lynden Pindling International Airport. With just one round remaining of a 13th season, Lowry is looking forward to a four-week competition break.
Lowry was all smiles after holing a 10-foot birdie putt at the last and breaking par for the first time in three days with a 71 for a six-under tally on day three of the Hero World Challenge.
It sees the reigning BMW PGA champion in 18th place and trailing a whopping 20 shots adrift of defending Hero Challenge champion Vicktor Hovland with the Norwegian sensation posting a blistering eight-under 64 in bright but continuing windy conditions on the host Albany course.
After two rounds under a ‘preferred lie’ rule, it was play the ball as you found it on day three but didn’t appease all with players still experiencing mud balls in finding the fairways.
That was the scenario for Lowry on more than one occasion in a round of five birdies but also, and for a third day, spoilt by two bogeys and a 16th hole double-bogey where Lowry found the fairway but chunked his second into a greenside bunker.
However, the birdie at the last brought a smile to Lowry’s face and delighted those gathered around final green, and with handing his golf ball to a young fan and another, his glove while he also autographed two brand new Srixon balls and handed one each to the walking recorder and the scorer.
“I’m looking forward tomorrow and take nothing away from this tournament, as it’s a great tournament and I‘ve enjoyed coming here, but I’m just not in the right frame of mind to play golf,” said Lowry.
“In the last week or so, I’ve been to Dubai and then back to Florida, back to Ireland, back to the States and then over here. It’s just been too much and it’s kind of something that I need to look at going forward as I just don’t need to do this to myself. My tank is empty.” he admitted.
“Like today, I was playing nicely to be two-under coming to 16 and I’ve made the worst double-bogey of all time. Doing something like that at this time of year is just so frustrating. So, I’m just running on fumes at the moment and it’s not me as physically I feel good, mentally I feel great.”
“I spoke to Fitzy (Matthew Fitzpatrick) about it and at this time of year I’m still practicing hard, but I don’t know what I am practicing for whereas when I come back out in January there will be the incentive of the big events starting out in the Middle East and everything leading to the Masters. So, it’s like this time of year it’s just a weird one for me”.