Friday 26 May 2017

Shane Lowry struggles at BMW International but Damien McGrane is off to a flyer

Ireland's Shane Lowry
Ireland's Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry

Ireland's Shane Lowry found Eichenried Golf Club a tougher prospect than Chambers Bay in the early stages of the BMW International in Munich today.

But there was better news for Ireland's Damien McGrane who posted a solid round of three-under-par to leave him just three off leader Andrew Johnston.

Lowry was in contention for his first major title in last week's US Open, going into the final round just three shots off the lead before finishing tied for ninth with world number one Rory McIlroy.

The 28-year-old would have been expecting a far easier time in Germany on a course where low scoring has traditionally dominated, but after picking up a shot on the par-five 11th - his second hole - Lowry carded three bogeys in succession from the 14th.

Playing partner Martin Kaymer, who missed the cut in defence of his US Open title at Chambers Bay, was faring better with birdies on the 11th and 18th taking the home favourite to the turn in 34.

But the third member of the marquee group, Sweden's Henrik Stenson, needed to birdie the 18th to get back to level par after following two early birdies with a triple-bogey seven on the 16th.

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat was setting the pace at the top of the leaderboard thanks to five birdies in 13 holes, with Sweden's Joakim Lagergren a shot behind after four birdies in a row from the third.

England's Andrew Johnston and Scotland's Chris Doak were among a group of players a shot further back on three under, with Kaymer and former Open champion Paul Lawrie in a large group on two under.

Lowry birdied the par-five 18th to get back to one over par and was surprisingly soon joined on that score by Kaymer, who bogeyed the first and ran up a double-bogey six on the third, where he fluffed a chip from right of the green.

Stenson had suffered no such problems and a birdie from 15 feet on the first got the world number seven back into red figures, albeit five off the lead shared by Aphibarnrat and Karlberg.

Johnston, who memorably celebrated winning a car for a hole-in-one during the BMW PGA Championship with an exuberant chest-bump with a friend in the gallery, was a shot off the lead after birdies on the seventh and eighth.

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