It all started so well.
Shane Lowry and the rest of the US Masters field are struggling to cope with Scottie Scheffler in the form of his golfing life.
Back in February, Scheffler had plenty of Top 10 finishes, but no career victories to his name. Heading into the Masters, at Augusts National, he was off the back of three huge wins, year-to-date earnings north of $7m and sitting pretty as world number one.
Lowry, Charl Schwartzel and Cam Smith all took darts at Scheffler in the third round. Birdies, eagles and plenty of bold approach shots. They threw it all at the American. The closest they got was when Smith went to -8 and only three shots back. Within five minutes, and a two-shot swing, Scheffler was back five ahead.
After an excellent second round, on Friday, Lowry started superbly. He birdied the second and sixth [clip below] to move to -5 and, for a time, was just four shots back. It all started to go awry on the ninth hole, and there was a touch of the commentator’s curse about it.
"Here we go… that was Shane Lowry!" pic.twitter.com/i4XlHuSfGH
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) April 9, 2022
Shane Lowry berates himself on 13th hole
The ninth was when Shane Lowry had his first blip of the day. His drive was spot-on, but his approach to green was under-cooked a touch and spun back off the fringe.
It left a tricky chip up towards the flag-stick, but the Sky Sports commentary team had his back:
“Now, this is where he excels.”
Not so. The Clara native’s chip scuttled 10 feet by the hole and he then missed that putt for par. Lowry had still shot 35 [-1] on the front nine, but Scheffler was playing so well that the heat was truly on the rest of the field.
Lowry had three pars as he started down the back nine. The 13th hole saw him get loose, and the TV microphones picked up some frustrated comments.
The 35-year-old did not go for the green in two, on the long par five, but gave himself a wedge approach to the green. There was too much on the shot and it ended up at the back of the green, all but taking birdie out of the equation. Admonishing himself and caddy ‘Bo’ Martin, Lowry exclaimed:
‘Left myself no shot. What a f***ing shit lay-up that was. Well done, well done Bo. Only 30 yards out. Well done.’
Lowry may have felt his caddy had given him the wrong advice on his approach. He then proceeded to three-putt and slipped back to -3 and, at the time, eight off Scheffler. On Sky Sports, Butch Harmon observed the 2019 Open champion would be ‘chewing wasps’ for a while after that poor hole.
Pars followed at 14, 15 and 16. The ship was steadied, but Scheffler was looking imperious.
The call Saturday at majors ‘moving day’. As it was, Scheffler was simply moving away from most of the chasing pack.
- Scottie Scheffler -9 [leader]
- Cam Smith -6
- Sungae Im -4
- Shane Lowry & Charl Schwartzel -2
- SELECTED OTHERS: Dustin Johnson +1, Rory McIlroy +2, Seamus Power +6, Tiger Woods +7
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