Shane Lowry helps to set new Master record with hole-in-one
Shane Lowry all but danced an Irish jig after his hole-in-one on the infamous par-3 16th at Augusta National. High fives all round, massive roars from the galleries, and a marvellously exuberant celebration was just the tonic for the Offaly man who had struggled to find momentum in his round.
And he entered the history books as Davis Love III and Louis Oosthuizen also aced the hole - the first time three perfect scores have been recorded on the same hole at the Masters.
Lowry began the day at five over for the tournament and slipped to 12 over after 15 holes, before finishing on 10 over. Before signing his card, however, the dark clouds lifted and the doldrums disappeared in a couple of heartbeats.
Lowry swung his 8-iron, and made the perfect contact. Unerringly, the ball flew 180 yards on the ideal line to hit the middle of the green. It landed in the perfect spot and then began to roll down the slope, and finally dropped into the cup.
His was only the 16th ace in Masters history on this potential card-wrecker and the first since Bo Van Pelt in 2012 before Love and Oosthuizen followed the trend.
It was Lowry's second ace as a professional, and his first on American soil.
Lowry will delight in sharing bragging rights with Padraig Harrington, who became the first Irish golfer to have a hole-in-one on the 16th when he holed out a 6-iron shot in 2004.
Lowry will receive a large Crystal Bowl memento.
"I had 180 yards down wind and it was a perfect 8-iron for me. I'd been hitting good shots most of the day, hitting my targets well. I just hit a perfect shot in right of the flag," he said.
"Obviously it needed a bit of luck to go in, but it definitely felt like a bit of luck that I deserved. It's just a pity I wasn't doing better."
The photo of that moment will get a place of honour in Lowry's house - and he held on to his Srixon golf ball, despite making a mock gesture of throwing it into the stand.
"I'm fairly happy. I'll stick that picture up in my house, I'm sure, and it will be a nice memento to have," he said.
Reflecting on his week, Lowry commented: "Yesterday (Saturday) was just a tough day and I let it get away from me.
"Friday didn't go too well, either. I feel like my game wasn't far off. I didn't hole enough putts. I made a few bad decisions.
"I feel like I could have done a bit better."
USA Ryder Cup captain Love became the 17th player to ace the 16th when he holed out using a 6-iron shortly after Lowry's group, before South African oosthuizen became the 18th.
Bubba Watson, twice a green jacket winner, and one of the pre-tournament favourites, shot 71 for the day for a nine-over total, but stayed to watch the end of the day's play.
Watson commented: "It's just one of those things. It wasn't my week."