Offaly golfer Shane Lowry is right in the mix following an opening round 71 at Erin Hills in the US Open. The Clara man told the media afterwards that he felt "very comfortable out there," and hinted that he had been hitting some great practice rounds.
"I did feel a bit of expectation this week, from myself as well because I feel like I'm playing so well," he said. Lowry finished in joint second place at last year's US Open, and made a solid start to this year's edition, finishing with a host of players on one under par.
Lowry started his round on the 10th hole and made par before a birdie on the next set him up for a good round. He made par at the next three holes, before making birdie yet again on his sixth hole, the Par 4 15th.
The Esker Hills man rounded out his front 9 with three more pars, reaching the turn in 34 at two under par. He looked on course to shoot a sub-70 round, a feat just 17 players achieved, but faltering late cost him a couple of strokes.
Having played confidently and made par on the first six holes of his back nine, he shot six on the Par 5 7th and followed that with another bogey at the 8th hole, his 17th of the round. That brought him back to even par but a good birdie on the final hole saw him jump back into the top 30 and right into contention.
Rickie Fowler leads the tournament on seven under par after a sparkling round of 65. The American holds the lead on his own, but Englishman Paul Casey and American Xander Schauffele are just one sot back on six under par.
It was a torrid opening round for the world's top three players, with Dustin Johnson shooting three over par, Rory McIlroy slumping to six over, and Australian Jason Day a further shot behind on seven over par.
Lowry is due to tee off on his second round between 2-2.30pm.
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