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Lowry prepared to be patient after slow start at sunny Mount Juliet

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Shane Lowry of Ireland looks for his ball with officials, spectators and Martin Kaymer of Germany after his 'only real bad shot of the day' on the fifth hole at Mount Juliet yesterday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Shane Lowry of Ireland looks for his ball with officials, spectators and Martin Kaymer of Germany after his 'only real bad shot of the day' on the fifth hole at Mount Juliet yesterday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Shane Lowry of Ireland looks for his ball with officials, spectators and Martin Kaymer of Germany after his 'only real bad shot of the day' on the fifth hole at Mount Juliet yesterday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Shane Lowry has refused to hit the panic button but admitted he’ll need to get his skates on after a two-under 70 left him six shots off the pace in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The Open champion was not quite at his best on a picture-perfect day for golf. But even after getting off to a slow start and losing a ball off the tee at the par-five fifth, he’s determined to put on a show for the fans today after a disappointing opening day for the Irish in ice cream cone weather in Co Kilkenny.

“It’s Thursday,” Lowry insisted. “It’s not Sunday. It’s going to be a long week. There’s a bit of bad weather forecast at the weekend, so if I can put myself in a decent position tomorrow, even going into Saturday and Sunday, it will be pretty nice.”

With Pádraig Harrington struggling to a 76 in the group behind, Lowry had the lion’s share of the limited gallery alongside Martin Kaymer and Jonny Caldwell.

Named as one of Harrington’s vice-captains, Kaymer continued his brilliant recent form and cruised to a five-under 67 as Caldwell found water twice at the 18th to run up a triple-bogey seven and again at the short third to card a double-bogey en route to a 76.

Ranked first for strokes gained approach, Lowry might have shot in the sixties with ease but for a short par miss from four feet at the 13th, his fourth, and a lost ball on the par-five fifth coming home.

In between, he birdied the 15th from seven feet, then narrowly missed from 15 feet for eagle at the 17th to get right into the tournament.

Back in the red, he fired a glorious, 160-yard approach to two feet at the second and tapped in for birdie but lost a ball off the tee right at the fifth, eventually walking off with a bogey after he hit a 210-yard six-iron to seven feet for his fourth but misread the par putt.

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“They said it just went in, and obviously I said to Bo, next time when I’m hitting it off-line, make sure I hit it in the crowd,” Lowry joked of his tee-shot into the jungle there. “It was disappointing because it was the only real bad shot I hit all day.”

He lost over two shots to the field on the greens, however, and will be looking for better today.

“I hit a lot of, I felt, good putts that kind of burnt the edge,” he said. “I’ve just got to wait for them to drop.

“It was so easy out there. It does not get any easier. The fairways are firm, rolling. The greens are nice. You hit good shots, you get rewarded. It’s pretty easy golf out there.

“On a course like that, you can get a run of five or six birdies in a row and all of a sudden, you’re in the tournament. That’s my plan; keep going, keep my head down.”

As for playing at home again for the first time since his win at Royal Portrush, he confessed he’s determined to play well for the fans,

“Irish Opens are generally a bit, not different, but obviously it’s a huge tournament to me,” he said. “It means a lot to me. So I want to go out there and do very well, and I want to give the crowd out there something to cheer about.

“So two-under is a decent start. It’s not great, but I’m in the tournament now and got three rounds left and see what happens.”

Kaymer made seven birdies in an impressive five-under 67, but Harrington struggled with several parts of his game and putted poorly, running seven bogeys against just three birdies in a 76.

“It didn’t go the way I wanted it,” Harrington said. “I hit lots of pure shots and a few bad shots as well. And I struggled a bit on the greens. It was not what I expected.

“I suffered a bit from playing too well in practice. I was nearly reining it in on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sometimes you have high expectations, and it can backfire a bit.

“That happens sometimes, and doing a few new things on the golf course is slightly different, and it gets a little harder to do.

“I also hit some really pure shots. So there was lots of good, but the score was bad. Plenty of positives.”


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