I've never felt so lonely on a golf course - Lowry
Shane Lowry's dream day turned into a nightmare in the first round of the Open Championship at Royal Troon yesterday.
Lowry stepped onto the first tee buoyed up with confidence and looking forward to playing alongside top stars Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose.
But very soon his game began to unravel as he struggled to find fairways and he slumped to an opening 78, seven-over par.
Barring a miracle, his Open bid is over and he knows it.
At one stage he said he felt like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him, and that he had never felt as lonely on a golf course as he did on the tough back nine at Troon.
"It was a shock to the system," Lowry admitted afterwards. "I was playing absolutely fine in practice, it just came out of nowhere. It's just so, so disappointing.
"You're playing in the biggest tournament in the world, on one of the best courses in the world, with a couple of the best players in the world, what's not to enjoy? But if you're hitting it like I was today, it's not nice."
Lowry was candid and honest about his feelings as he struggled around the homeward stretch.
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"That's as lonely as I felt on a golf course in a while," he said. "Certainly in the last part of my round, I felt quite weird, it's hard to describe it. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me to be honest.
"That's the way I was feeling. I didn't think I was going to hit a good shot, which was weird.
"I stood on the 11th tee and I said to Dermot (Byrne, his caddie), 'I actually don't know where this is going'.
"It is the hardest tee-shot in the world, it's not a nice place to be in, and you feel as if you have the whole world watching.
"It is looking like I'm going to be going home before the weekend, but I will go out and give it a go," added Lowry.
Veteran Phil Mickelson set a blistering pace with a championship record-equalling 63 for eight-under par, the American agonisingly lipping out for a birdie on the last which would have given him the first 62 in Major championship history.
Rory McIlroy shot 69. Pádraig Harrington had a 70, and Darren Clarke filed a solid level-par 71, while Graeme McDowell (75) and St Andrews hero Paul Dunne (77) had days to forget.