‘It’s just hard’: Shane Lowry battles to make cut at windy Augusta

Irish golfer had three three-putts in four holes as he shot a 74 for three over

Even Van Morrison’s lyrics didn’t account for days like these, where those inside the ropes – in golfing paradise but subjected to hard labour – were required to second guess every shot as the wind noisily whistled through the branches of the swaying, towering cathedral pines and player and caddie determined fine margins with scientific know-how.

In such circumstances, Shane Lowry – the man executing the shots – and his bagman Darren Reynolds, his yardage book numbers studiously analysed on each and every shot, stuck diligently to the task at hand until a short par putt on the 18th green, for the second visit of a long day which started with a 5am alarm call, ensured further work for the weekend.

“It’s just hard. It’s hard to pick a wind and it’d be hard to get it right playing around a normal golf course, but you’re playing around Augusta National, where you have to be so precise, as well. You’re trying to pitch the ball; you don’t have much to pitch the ball in. You can be made to look like an idiot out there today by not doing too much wrong. I’m not overly happy with my two days’ work, but I’m here for the weekend, and I’ll give it a run,” said Lowry.

There were times Lowry looked frustrated, especially a spell of three three-putts in four holes – taking in his closing hole of his first round and then the first and third of his second round which came after a very short interlude – but, in difficult conditions, he produced a second round 74 to add to his opening 73 for 147, three-over-par, to maintain his streak of made cuts to five in the Masters.

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The first task for any player is to ensure a presence with scorecard in hand going into Saturday and Sunday. On that point, it was a case of mission accomplished. But with ground to make up. “I battled well. I’m proud of myself for playing the last six holes in one under to make the cut, and yeah, hopefully go out there and have a decent weekend,” admitted Lowry, adding:

“It’s so hard out there. It’s honestly a lot of guesswork, a lot of luck involved. It’s hard to hole putts. It’s hard to hit it close. There’s a lot of luck involved out there today. The wind is all over the place. I’ve never seen it like this. That was probably the toughest two days of golf that I’ve played. I’ll sleep well tonight!”

Lowry, to his credit, hung tough. When he hit his tee-shot to the angelic if deceptive par 3 12th to a back bunker and failed to save par, the Offalyman slipped to four over for the tournament and, at that time, outside the cutline. He didn’t drop another shot.

The all-important birdie came on the 14th, where he hit a 150-yard approach from rough to four-feet. “I said to Darren before I hit my second shot, ‘I’m not sure I can actually hit the green here’ because I thought it was going to come out and release over the back, but it actually come out lovely and soft and pitched in a perfect spot. Like I said earlier, a bit of luck involved in that, and it went down to four feet and I holed that.”

And Lowry parred his way in, with a number of outside birdie chances stubbornly refusing to drop, but with the first part of the job done in surviving the cut. “I’m very happy with how I played when I needed to,” he said, a good night’s sleep and a weekend of golf ahead.

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