A run of birdie, birdie, eagle just after the turn set Shane Lowry on course for a fantastic win over his good friend and World Number 1 Rory McIlroy at the Accenture WGC World Matchplay Championship in Arizona over night.
The Offaly golfer chipped in for both the birdies while the eagle on 12 featured the shot of the day when he hit a fairway wood from around 250 metres to within four feet of the flag.
That run put him two up with six to play but he had some nervous moment in the closing holes. He missed a short range putt on 14 to allow McIlroy back within one but the World Number 1 drove into the desert on the next hole allowing Lowry to move back to two up.
On the par 3 16th, McIlroy hit an excellent birdie to get back within one and Lowry was in trouble off the back of the green on the 17th but another spectacular chip to two feet left him one up going down the last.
The drama wasn’t over yet however as Lowry drove into the fairway bunker and then could only find the greenside bunker with his second. After hitting the fairway off the tee, McIlroy joined Lowry in the bunker and while he came very close to holing out, he left Lowry needing to get up and down to win the match. The Offaly man duly obliged with an excellent bunker to five feet and with the eyes of the entire golfing world on him as the light faded in Arizona, Lowry holed out to advance to the second round.
He now awaits the winner of the match between Ricky Fowler and Carl Petterson. Swede Petterson is one up with one to play.
World Number 2 Tiger Woods also exited the championship at the hands of Charles Howell.
Other favourites to fall were Dustin Johnson, Ernie Els and Charles Schwartzel while Graeme McDowell overcame Padraig Harrington
See some highlights and reaction from the Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy match via the PGA website by clicking here
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.