Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Golf

I wanted ground to swallow me up, admits Lowry

By Liam Kelly and Andy Hampson

Shane Lowry's dream day turned into a nightmare in the first round of the Open Championship at Royal Troon yesterday.

Lowry stepped onto the first tee buoyed with confidence and looking forward to playing alongside top stars Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose.

But very soon his game began to unravel as he struggled to find fairways and he slumped to an opening seven-over-par 78.

At one stage he said he felt like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him, and that he had never felt as lonely on a golf course as he did on the tough back nine at Troon.

"It was a shock to the system," Lowry admitted afterwards. "I was playing absolutely fine in practice, it just came out of nowhere. It's just so, so disappointing.

"You're playing in the biggest tournament in the world, on one of the best courses in the world, with a couple of the best players in the world, what's not to enjoy?

"But if you're hitting it like I was, it's not nice."

Lowry was candid and honest about his feelings as he struggled around the homeward stretch.

"That's as lonely as I have felt on a golf course in a while," he said. "Certainly in the last part of my round, I felt quite weird, it's hard to describe it. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.

"That's the way I was feeling. I didn't think I was going to hit a good shot, which was weird.

"I stood on the 11th tee and I said to Dermot (Byrne, his caddie), 'I actually don't know where this is going to go'.

"It is the hardest tee-shot in the world, it's not a nice place to be in and you feel as if you have the whole world watching.

"It is looking like I'm going to be going home before the weekend, but I will go out and give it a go."

Last year's amateur sensation Paul Dunne, meanwhile, admitted he was not enjoying his golf after an equally dismal start to his Open challenge.

The 23-year-old Irishman, who went into the final round at St Andrews with a share of the lead 12 months ago, shot a disappointing six-over-par 77.

He dropped seven shots on the back nine and he and playing partners Scott Piercy and Jamie Lovemark were put on the clock for a spell for slow play.

Dunne said: "I played okay on the front nine, but it's not hard to. But I turned for the back nine into the wind and I got found out.

"But I've been playing rubbish for the past month anyway and it's just a continuation of what's been happening.

"It's technical and it's mental, it's a bit of everything. I'm just not enjoying it.

"If I miss the cut here I think it will be six out of seven missed cuts, which is pretty pathetic. I'll be glad to have a break after this week."

Dunne felt confident last year but concedes he feared the worst this time.

He said: "I was playing better, I was hitting it better. I could have told you going into that week (last year) I was going to do okay, and I could have told you two days ago I was going to play badly today. That is just the way it goes."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph