Struggling with Masters fatigue, SHANE Lowry chiselled a 72-plus win in difficult conditions to keep his hopes alive of ending his winning streak at RBC Heritage at the boisterous Hilton Head.
he Clara man found only six fairways and hit only nine greens in regulation on the narrow and tricky Harbor Town Golf Links.
But he made two birdies and two bogeys to turn on even par, then rebounded from bogeys on the 11th and 14th, curling a 12-foot birdie on the 15th before hitting three solid two-putts -Pars graduated.
It was hard work for the world No. 30, who trailed putts of 30ft, 50ft and 54ft on the last three greens before making putts of 4ft, 6ft and 7ft for par.
He finished the day tied in 14th place, five shots behind FedEx Cup keeper Patrick Cantlay, who birded his final four holes for a 67 and a two-shot lead over Robert Streb with a nine-under.
“It was tough out there,” Lowry said. “It’s so hard in the trees and the wind is swirling. It’s also quite a strong wind. So, yeah, I’m obviously a little disappointed with a one-over, but I didn’t put myself out of the tournament. I have a good weekend.
“Obviously Patrick ended up making a few birdies and pulling away a bit, but there’s still a lot of golf left in this tournament.
“There are a couple of holes that are just an absolute disaster out there if you hit a bad shot. Like 14, you’re standing there, and I’m a couple off the lead, and you’re just a swing away from thinking about the crop mark. It’s so tight out there.”
He sums up the difficulty of the challenge: “It was the gusts. It was just hard to get the ball stud up and it was hard to get the ball close. The greens are very firm. And then they were a little crunchy at the end.
“I found it difficult anyway, especially from a distance with the putter. I kept getting five, six feet tall but managed to clean up nicely.
After sharing third place in the Masters. Lowry remains in excellent form and only knows he must remain patient as he aims to win for the first time since The Open in 2019.
“I think I just have to go out there and do my thing. I think I played good enough golf,” he said. “One-over isn’t great today, but it’s not a disaster. Look, it was really, really hard out there.
“I just have to focus on keeping the ball in play and just taking my birdies when I get them because I think I’m playing well enough to maybe challenge at the weekend but we’ll see how that goes .”
It was a tough day for Graeme McDowell, too, but while the 2013 champion bogeyed four of his last six holes, he finished the weekend with an even five-to-76.
As for Cantlay, he was thrilled to birdie his last four holes and open a two-shot lead.
“Yeah, that’s a dream finish of course,” Cantlay said. “I finally got some putts in and it was really nice to see how the weekend goes.
“It’s been a tough day out there and I figured any round under par or even par would be a win for today. If I finish the way I did I’ll be in a great position for the weekend.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/battling-shane-lowry-stays-in-contention-at-the-rbc-heritage-41558667.html Struggling Shane Lowry remains in contention at RBC Heritage