Lowry hails host Sergio's masterclass performance at Valderrama
Shane Lowry took time out from his own battle with the renowned Valderrama course to admire Sergio Garcia's masterclass in round one of the Andalucia Masters yesterday.
Garcia, whose charitable Foundation hosts the tournament, thrilled the home galleries by scoring 66 for the joint lead with Holland's Joost Luiten on five-under par.
Lowry finished on 72, one-over par, and hailed playing partner Garcia's performance.
Speaking to Ireland's Meridian Media, Lowry said: "I've always said it, Sergio is one of, if not the most impressive ball strikers in the world.
"I've played with him quite a few times now and he makes it look easy. He had a good day today and hopefully I can get out there tomorrow and make a few birdies."
Lowry (65th), needs a good performance this week to boost his chances of getting into the top-60 who play the season-ending DP World Tour Championship next month.
Three birdies and four bogeys for 72 over the testing par-71 Valderrama layout was not a disaster on this course.
"In golf, we're never satisfied with our score but I'm going to do a bit of practice this afternoon and get out there tomorrow and see what I can do," said Lowry.
The Offaly golfer confirmed his plans to base himself in Florida for a minimum six months, starting in January, to reduce the burden of travelling to PGA Tour events.
He has rented a house and will travel to the USA with wife Wendy and baby daughter Iris in the first week of January.
Pádraig Harrington also shot 72 to join Lowry in a group of 14 players on one-over, six shots off the lead. The three-time Major winner recorded three birdies in the round.
"I was probably a little bit cautious at times. A little bit disappointed with the bogeys. All the bogeys could have been avoided. Overall, it felt like it should have been at least a level-par, but not a 66, so one-over is not the end of the world," said Harrington.
Challenge Tour player Gary Hurley, the only other Irish competitor in the field, shot 80, nine-over par.
Elsewhere, Leona Maguire made a solid start to LPGA and Symetra Tour stage two qualifying, carding a two-under par 70 on the Plantation Course in Venice, Florida.
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