Shane Lowry comes home in record 29 on first day of Players Championship
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 13/05/16 11:41am
Shane Lowry celebrated a tournament record after an astonishing back nine saw him surge into contention on day one of The Players Championship.
Lowry became the first player in Sawgrass history to break 30 for the inward half at the Stadium Course, carding an eagle and five birdies in his seven-under 65.
The Irishman struggled to make anything happen over the first half of his round and reached the turn in level par, but he burst into life when he drained a 35-foot putt for birdie at the 10th and he defied a tricky lie to pitch in for an eagle at the next.
Lowry picked up two further shots over the next two holes as he rewarded himself for excellent approaches to inside six feet, although he missed out on another birdie at the 14th as his 10-foot putt shaved the edge of the cup.
He did well to avoid a second bogey of the day at 15 when he blocked his tee-shot and could only pitch back to the fairway, but he clipped a precise wedge to seven feet and rolled in the par-saving putt.
Last year's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational champion two-putted from almost 50 feet for birdie at the long 16th and missed another 10-foot birdie putt at 17 before atoning at the last - holing from 12 feet to eclipse the previous back-nine record of 30.
"Being honest, I was not very confident starting this week," said Lowry, who has managed only one top-10 finish this season and arrived at Sawgrass on the back of a missed cut in the Wells Fargo Championship last week.
"I had a bit of an emergency phone call with my coach this morning before I played. I just wanted to get some feelings off my chest. Things have not been going well and I did not feel comfortable on the golf course.
"I started okay today and then obviously got going on the back nine and it's always nice to shoot 29 at some stage."
Asked what his coach Neil Manchip had said, Lowry replied: "Just go out and try to play my game, pick some targets was the big thing and try to hit it at them. If it does not happen it's not the end of the world. That was the gist of it and it seemed to work today."