Shane Lowry playing like a joy as he makes Irish Open charge 5 months ago

Shane Lowry playing like a joy as he makes Irish Open charge

The Clara man finished with a birdie on 18 to leave the course smiling broadly.

For the first three hours at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, there was not a single Irish name under par. Even Shane Lowry was struggling to get going.

The likes of Wade Ormsby, Oliver Wilson and Martin Kaymer were all ticking along nicely but Irish fans in Lahinch had few local charges to get pumped about. Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell were battling the course and Lowry was +1 after four holes.

His first birdie of the day arrived at the par-three 5th hole and that was the spark needed.

There was another birdie on the 9th as Lowry reached the turn at -1 before he picked up another shot at the 12th. He recovered from a wayward tee shot on the next hole, to card a par.

Lowry was so close to an incredible eagle on the 14th when his approach pinged off the flagpole. That got the crowd cheering, and they kept it up when he closed that hole out with a steady birdie putt.

Lowry was up to -3 and he was frustrated when he gave himself good looks at birdies on 16 and 17 only for his putts to slide by.

On to the 18th and a lusty drive put him in position to go for the green with his second shot on the long par-five. He had an eagle putt, 40 feet back, from the fringe and lagged that up to within a few feet before tapping home for -4.

It was enough, by the time he strode from the course [just after lunchtime], for a share of sixth place. "I wanted to make a decent start and I did, so I'm happy with that," Lowry told Sky Sports after his round of 66.

There was a glut of players a stroke ahead, on -5, such as Ormsby, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Thorbjorn Olsen, Hyowon Park and Lee Slattery.

Elsewhere, among the Irish and Northern Irish golfers that went out early, Seamus Power and Paul McBride were level par, Darren Clarke finished +1 and both McDowell and Gavin Moynihan were a shot further back.