x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Lowry looks forward after first pro round

After all the hype surrounding his professional golf debut, Shane Lowry was just happy it was over.

Shane Lowry shakes hands with compatriot Paul McGinley, right, after completing his first professional round of golf on the first day of the European Open at the London Club yesterday.
Shane Lowry shakes hands with compatriot Paul McGinley, right, after completing his first professional round of golf on the first day of the European Open at the London Club yesterday.

ASH, ENGLAND // After all the hype surrounding his professional golf debut, Shane Lowry was just glad it was over. A first professional round of six-over 78 was not what Lowry, 22, had in mind at the European Open on Thursday. It was first appearance since his stunning victory 10 days ago in the Irish Open at Baltray, after which the Irishman declared an end to his amateur status. On Thursday, Lowry wouldn't admit to being nervous at the London Club.

"I was just thinking about going out and trying to play as well as I can and unfortunately I wasn't there today," he said. "I felt a little bit flat, I suppose, and didn't play great. I'm actually glad to have that round over. "I just didn't feel like myself, to be honest." He said that having a two-year exemption for his victory, and despite forgoing the ?500,000 (Dh2.57m) it was worth, he felt no pressure to perform well except for what he imposed on himself.

"I'm not under pressure to make the cut or make some money, but yeah, I still have pressure on myself to try and do as well as I can." Lowry was four-over after six holes before his first birdie at the short seventh. He bogeyed the next and dropped three more shots against just one more birdie on the back nine. "I didn't prepare myself to shoot 78, to be honest. I was trying to shoot as good as I could and while it's not as good as I could have shot, it was just a few sloppy mistakes. But I'll be OK. It's the first of many and there will be some good days and bad days and I'll just get on with it.".

Grateful for some pointers passed on by his playing partner Paul McGinley, he impressed his countryman. "He's a class player," McGinley said. "All the attention made it difficult for him. He's got the game, no doubt about that. He just needs experience. He has a good attitude, he's a good kid with a great short game, powerful hitter, and plays the modern game. What more do you want?" Lowry didn't practice much before the tournament and didn't intend to put in any extra work before trying to pull out something special just to avoid the cut on Friday.

"I'm not going to change because I'm on the European Tour now," he said. * AP