Lowry – 400 Days On From 60,000 Delirious Home Fans To The Calm Of Nil Spectators.

It’s been nearly 400 days since well over 60,000 delirious home fans cheered-on Shane Lowry to victory in last year’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

Now Lowry, and with less a few hundred on site at this week’s PGA Championship, reckons he can become a repeat major champion with less than a few hundred individuals on site at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

If so, Lowry would become the first back-to-back winner of a Major since Jordan Spieth won both the 2015 Masters and the following 2015 U.S. Open.

“It’s funny, like I played with Dustin and Phil Saturday last week in Memphis and late on a Saturday I’m doing well in a WGC,” said Lowry.

“I can imagine if there was crowds it would have felt a little bit different. And even Sunday coming down the stretch, I sort of felt like I had a chance going out there Sunday, and to be honest, I did feel it a little bit.

“I don’t know if it was as much as you normally would feel it, but I did feel the heat a little bit coming down the stretch on Sunday, which was nice, because I hadn’t been in the situation since we started playing without fans.

Spot the Open Championship winner as nearly 60,000 fans cheer-on Shane Lowry to victory at last year’s Open.

“This week, will the players that have a chance on the back nine on Sunday feel it like they would do if there was 40,000 people here? Probably not as much as you might think, but I still they’ll feel it a little bit. I still think there’s a whole lot up for grabs, and winning one of these things for certain players can be career-changing, life-changing.

“I think people will feel it. I know if I have a chance on Sunday, I’ll probably feel it a little bit, but it’ll be nice to be in that situation.

“Will it be the same as if there was 40,000 people out there?  No, absolutely not. But I still think everybody knows how much these tournaments mean, and everybody knows how much they want to win one of these things.”

In speaking of last week Memphis, Lowry secured his best finish of T6th in the total of 10 events he’s contested on the PGA Tour’s 2019/20 wraparound schedule.

And if there was a standout shot of Lowry’s four days at TPC Southwind is what his penultimate shot into the 72nd hole green, and moments after sending his drive into the water down the right side of the last.

Lowry had 183-yards to the pin and put his shot to just 18-inches to save par and secured the share of sixth, and a shot by the Open Champion that host broadcaster CBS chose not to cover.

That shot, Lowry says, called by caddy ‘Bo’ Martin and bag on the bag for a first time since the lockdown, that’s added the real spring in his step heading into this week.

“It was interesting how it unfolded as I hit a bad tee shot, hit it in the water and I found a decent drop where I had 190 or 180 something to the hole, and I just tried to hit a good shot and hit it to a foot, which was nice,” said Lowry.

“But it was nice because I think if I’d have bogeyed that hole or doubled that hole to finish 12th or 15th or whatever, I would have been very disappointed coming off the week, whereas feeling like I played quite nicely last week.

“On Sunday last week I gave myself a lot of chances in the first 16 holes and I didn’t really convert any of them, and I felt like I could have been there or thereabouts when it came to who was going to win the tournament.

“I was very happy with last week. It was my first week with Bo back on the bag, which was nice. It was nice to have a familiar face there. So yeah, it was good. I’m very happy with it.”

Lowry will play the opening two rounds in the company of defending champ, Brooks Koepka and current US Open winner, Gary Woodland.

And Koepka was full of compliments for Lowry, who had been a regular social round golfing partner during the ‘lockdown’.

“I like Shane.  He’s a funny guy. He’s a character,” said Koepka.

“I enjoy playing with Shane and I’ve played a lot with him at the Floridian during lockdown.  t was fun. I enjoyed the competition, trying to battle into something for being off for three months.

“Shane is a good player. Drives it really well. He hits a tight little draw. Great short game, and he’s going to be right there come Sunday.”

Lowry appreciated the remarks saying: “It’s great Brooks saying that.  It’s nice to be able to play with some of the best players in the world, and I was fortunate enough to be able to do that during lockdown.”

Lowry will be making his ninth PGA Championship appearance since his debut in 2010 at Whistling Straits.

The majors winning trio of Lowry, Koepka and reigning US Open winning Gary Woodland will tee-off on day one at 8.11am (local US time) or 4.11pm Irish from the 10th tee on the TPC Harding Park course located on the shoreline of Lake Merced and less than 10 miles south of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.

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