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Masters: Lowry is confident he has the answers to pass Augusta quiz

By Liam Kelly

Far from the madding crowd, Shane Lowry's relaxation in the build-up to only his third Masters involves a sport close to his heart - hurling. But there's a problem.

Lowry and his team brought a few hurleys and sliothars out to Augusta to have a bit of a puck around, but they're down to just one sliothar.

"We actually burst one sliothar off the road and we've lost another one," he said. "We're not going great, we have only one left. If anyone coming over tomorrow could bring over a few it would be great!"

A puck around is one thing but Lowry won't take risks.

"It's something to do. I wouldn't be doing too much with it now; I wouldn't be trying to catch them (sliothars) or anything, just in case. I just smack it up and down the road," he said.

The Lowry group - coach Neil Manchip, caddie Dermot Byrne, father Brendan, brother Alan, uncle Mark Scanlon and manager Brian Moran - have come to the Masters with one mission - to see Shane perform as well as possible in the 81st staging of this magnificent tournament.

The golfer's work has to be done, but the off-course time needs to be filled with as much relaxation as possible, hence the hurling and the highly competitive quiz series between the older members of the group and the younger guys.

Lowry celebrated his 30th birthday on Sunday but it was a quiet event - apart from the quiz contests.

"It's one-all," he said. "We got a bus down because there were so many of us on Saturday and had a quiz to pass the time, and then we had one when we got to the house. We (young guys) won the one on the way down, they won the one at the house.

"Alan is the quiz master. It's a bit of craic. We'll have one this afternoon. There's going to be no more golf for the day," he said.

The original plan yesterday was to play the front nine, but the Clara golfer was enjoying his outing alongside two-time Major champion Martin Kaymer and Sweden's Alex Noren, so they carried on down the 10th and into the back nine.

A severe weather warning was in place and the group got through 15 holes before heading for the comfort and safety of the clubhouse.

"The forecast is nice tomorrow and okay Wednesday, so I'll play nine tomorrow and nine Wednesday, so 18 more holes, it's not too bad. I'm happy enough," he said.

Setting the challenge in context, and appreciating this is only his third time in the Masters, Lowry is comfortable with his knowledge of the course.

"It's always there. There's nothing new to it. You know where to go and where not to go," he said.

"Sometimes it is better not knowing where not to go but it is there in front of you now and you just have to try to make good shots.

"Sometimes you might hit a good shot and get a little bit cruel, sometimes you might hit a bad shot and get a decent bounce and that's kind of the way it is."

Lowry failed to get out of his group at the WGC-Dell Match Play and did not enter the Shell Houston Open, but he feels good about his game.

"I always am a firm believer that you can't really peak for any tournament. I don't think you can say, 'This is exactly what I need to do leading up to the tournament and I'm going to play my best golf', because it's golf and you don't know what's going to happen," he said.

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