Shane Lowry had mixed feelings after firing a six under 65 to grab an early share of the lead on his debut in the frost-delayed Waste Management Phoenix Open but if he had to choose one overriding feeling, happiness probably outweighed any feelings of frustration.
The world No 21 was quietly chuffed to made eight birdies and build on the momentum of last week’s share of 13th at Torrey Pines.
But having soared to seven under par after 13 holes, he had a nagging feeling that he had let a really low round slip through his fingers due to his lack of aggression and over-tentativeness late in the day
“To get to seven under so early was nice, I just wish I had kept going,” said Lowry who ended the day tied for top spot with Rickie Fowler and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.
When play was suspended due to darkness, Greystones rookie Paul Dunne was tied for 47th on one under after 13 holes and Pádraig Harrington joint 115th after an untidy, three over 74.
Lowry and his fellow leaders were one strokes ahead of India's Anirban Lahiri (66).
Soft bogeys at the fifth and sixth irked Lowry. But he could be happy that he generally putted very well — 3.86 strokes gained on the field on the greens— and had a solid ball-striking day.
“I was pretty disappointed with the two bogeys and hit a lovely seven iron to the middle of the green [at the seventh] and the greens are probably as pure as I have ever seen. So if you hit a good putt, you know it has a chance," Lowry told Sky Sports.
“I managed to do that today and hopefully I can do it for the next few days. I played nicely last week — Saturday I wasn’t great — but the other three days were very nice and I am feeling good about myself.
“I put a lot of time in between yesterday and Tuesday and I feel like I am hitting it well. I just need to be more aggressive and less tentative when I get quite low on the day.
“I was seven under early on and probably should have kicked on from there and made two bad bogeys. But I bounced back with a two and to shoot 65 is nice.”
"It’s a great week, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far,” added Lowry, who enjoyed some early adulation from the Phoenix faithful at the stadium par-three 16th when he made the first of three twos on the day by dropping a 30-footer for birdie on its very last revolution.
The Clara man raised both fists to the sky to enjoy the moment and kickstarting a hat-trick birdie run that took him to five under par through the turn in the Arizona desert sunshine
“It was good fun,” Lowry said of his first taste of the 16th in competition.
The world No 21 had holed another 30 footer at the 11th and an eight footer at the 13th before birdies at the 16th, 17th and 18th sent him out in 31.
He then splashed out to seven feet at the par-five third and rolled in a six footer for a two at the fourth before losing a little focus and momentum
With a tricky wind blowing, he drove into a trap at the fifth and missed a seven footer for par while at the sixth, he had just 123 yards to the pin but got caught out by the breeze and came up short, spinning his gap wedge 20 yards down the fairway.
His third deuce of the day, courtesy of a smooth 25 footer at the seventh, undid some of the damage. But after missing a good chance from around 10 feet following a majestic 188 yard approach to the eighth, he did well to chip and putt for par at the ninth after a pushed tee shot ended up in the rough.
Harrington lost more than six strokes to Lowry on the greens as he mixed three birdies with four bogeys and a double bogey six, three-putting twice in a 32-putt, three over 74.
Rookie Dunne, hugely impressive on his debut in San Diego last week (T13 with Lowry) was among the later starters.
But while he rolled in a three footer for a birdie four at the second and a 30 footer for another at the 10th, he missed just one good chance inside 10 feet and was generally putting from long range for most of the day, dropping his only shot at the par-three 12th after bunkering his tee shot.
Power 10 back in Colombia
Web.com Tour - Seamus Power opened with a three over 74 in the lightning-delayed Club Colombia Championship at Bogota Country Club.
The West Waterford man made five bogeys and two birdies to share 115th place, 10 shots behind leader Miguel Carballo,