Lowry back to his roots as wind and rain lash Pebble
Shane Lowry grew up battling all sorts of adverse weather conditions in Ireland, but he readily admits he loves the PGA Tour's 'follow the sun' policy on the 'West Coast Swing' at this time of year.
Unfortunately, the California dream of sunshine and surfing turned into a nightmare of rain and gales on day one of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am yesterday.
Lowry and fourball partner Pádraig Harrington were obliged to don the wet suits and knuckle down to battle the elements on the famous par-72 Pebble Beach links.
The two professionals were partnered by amateurs Gerry McManus (15), and Dermot Desmond (11) respectively in the morning wave of starters. They got some luck as the worst of the weather only developed as they were halfway through their round.
By the end of play, Lowry was happy to file a two-under par 70, leaving him just two off the clubhouse lead held jointly by Americans Rick Lamb and Joel Dahmen and South Korea's Seung-Yol Noh.
Their 68s all came on Spyglass Hill, one of three courses used in this famous pro-am, which played easier than the Pebble Beach links.
Seamus Power, with amateur team member James Farrell (5), also played at Spyglass and carded a creditable 70.
Harrington shot 74, +2, but finished in style with only his second birdie of the day on the par-5 18th.
Afterwards, Lowry spoke of his relief at getting home with a 70 on his card after playing in what he described as "a three-club wind".
"If I was at home and the weather was like this outside, I wouldn't go out and play golf.
"It's obviously very tough. It's one of those days where you just have to batten down the hatches and try and keep making pars and take your chances when they come. That's what I did today," he said.
Lowry came to the 18th tee on three-under, but with the wind whipping in off the sea, his second shot drifted right and he had to take a free drop away from a grandstand close to the green.
He pitched to just off the green in three, and from 30 feet tried to pitch the ball to the hole, but the ball rolled ten feet past, and his par attempt came up just short.
"You take the club back and the wind just blows you all over the place. I hit that one too hard. It was disappointing to bogey 18, but I did hole a couple of putts out there," he said.
Lowry made birdie on four out of five holes starting from the 11th, but equally important were a couple of par saves on the eighth and 10th.
Meanwhile, Paul McGinley makes his PGA Tour Champions debut in Florida today in the company of fellow members of an exclusive club - winning European Ryder Cup captains.
McGinley, who celebrated his 50th birthday in December, is joined in the field for the Allianz Championship at Boca Raton by Bernhard Langer (2004), Colin Montgomerie (2010), and Jose Maria Olazabal (2012).
The Dubliner, who skippered Europe to victory in 2014 at Gleneagles, and Olazabal, are 'rookies' this week.
McGinley's draw for the first round will attract plenty of spectators as he is joined in the three-ball by big-hitting John Daly, and David Toms.
Maybank Championship, Live, Sky Sports 4, 5.0am
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.0pm