Wednesday 26 June 2019

Happy-go-lucky Lowry sees silver lining as McDowell finds form

Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty
Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty

Brian Keogh

Shane Lowry's sunny attitude paid off when he equalled his career low on the PGA Tour and opened with a superb 64 in the RBC Canadian Open.

As Graeme McDowell birdied his last two holes for five-under 65 that left him tied sixth in his quest for a top-10 finish and one of three spots in The Open at Royal Portrush, a relaxed Lowry was just one stroke behind leader Keegan Bradley and showing promising form ahead of next week's US Open.

Twenty-four hours after getting soaked in the pro-am, the Clara native (32) made seven birdies and a bogey on a rain-softened Hamilton Golf and Country Club to share second with South Korea's Sungjae Im, South Africa's Erik van Rooyen and Canadian Nick Taylor on six-under.

"I pretty much hit the ball where I wanted to today and holed a few putts, so it was nice," said Lowry.

Wednesday's clouds proved to have a silver lining for Lowry, whose lone bogey came when he drove into "a huge divot" at the seventh.

The Offaly man has finished third and eighth in his last two starts and puts that down to his attitude.

"I think it's mentally more than anything physically," he said when asked what's clicked recently.

"I think I've enjoyed my golf a little bit more over the last little while.

"Obviously, it's easier to enjoy it when you're finishing third and eighth. Hopefully, I can keep it going."

Rory McIlroy (30) drove the ball well but was disappointed to post only a three-under 67 after putting a fourth wedge in his bag for next week's US Open, where he knows precision wedge play will be key.

"I really feel like it was the worst I could have shot out there," said McIlroy, who hit some excellent wedges but struggled with his pace on the greens.

"I played well. Definitely an improvement on how I played last week at the Memorial."

Seamus Power found just five fairways in a level-par 70 while Pádraig Harrington had four birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey in a 71 that left him tied with an out-of sorts Dustin Johnson.

Meanwhile, Paul McGinley has persuaded two-time Major winner Martin Kaymer to commit to next month's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch.

Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan will also be in Co Clare from July 4-7, but they first want to successfully defend their GolfSixes title at Oitavos Dunes in Lisbon this week.

They face England Women, Sweden and Thailand in Group B with the winners and runners-up making tomorrow's knockout stages.

Elsewhere, McDowell will tee it up with Johnson and Phil Mickelson in the first two rounds of the US Open at Pebble Beach next week.

Lowry tees off at the same time as McDowell but from the first tee with England's Tyrrell Hatton and American Gary Woodland.

McIlroy will be the first Irish player in action when he sets off in search of his fifth Major from the 10th at 3.51pm Irish time with Spain's Jon Rahm and Australian Marc Leishman.

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