Aces high as Lowry gets rewarded on sweet 16th

Aces high as Lowry gets rewarded on sweet 16th

Shane Lowry was heading for a flat finish at Augusta when an amazing ace at the 16th turned a forgettable week into a massive celebration.

The Clara man was five over for the day and 12 over for the Masters when he became the 16th player to make a hole-in-one the 16th in Masters history en route to a 75 that left him down the leaderboard on 10 over par.

Playing in just his second Masters, Lowry matched Pádraig Harrington, who aced the 16th in the final round in 2004.

On this occasion, his eight iron from 181 yards caught the slope right of the pin and ran into hole to a massive roar that was repeated 20 minutes later when US Ryder Cup skipper Davis Love made the 17th ace there with a seven iron.

Lowry was so pleased he almost did a jig on the tee as he exchanged high fives with playing partner Patrick Reed, both caddies and even a fan behind the tee.

Wondering afterwards what he had won for his second ace in competition, Lowry joked: “It’s not a car, is it? A piece of crystal? 

“Well, I hit a great shot. In fact, I hit plenty of great shots this week. So there are a lot of positives to take from the week and that is one of them.

“I've been hitting good shots most of the day and hitting my targets also, so it was a fairly easy shot, I felt and I just hit a perfect shot in right at the flag and obviously needed luck to go in the hole. 

“But I felt like I deserved a little bit of luck and so I’m fairly happy and I’ll put that picture up in my house and it will be a nice memento to have.”

Asked if he would be phoning Esker Hills Golf Club to set up a tab in the bar, Lowry beamed; “Ahh, don’t be saying stuff like that. It will cost me a fortune. 

“If I had done a bit better in the tournament, I might have. But obviously it’s nice. 

“Maybe it is just the course paying me back for a little bit of bad fortune I think I have had over the last few days.”

It was some welcome good news for the affable Offaly man, who opened with a 68 to lie just two shots off the lead but gradually slithered down the leaderboard.

After struggling to a 76 in the high winds on Friday, he suffered badly on Saturday with a seven over par 79 leaving him tied for 34th on seven over.

He went out hoping to make some badly needed Ryder Cup and Olympics Games qualifying points.

But things went south early as he drove into trees right at the third and racked up a triple bogey seven as two attempted escapes ricocheted back at him from the pine trees.

He then bogeyed the fourth from the front trap before three-putting the eighth for another bogey after a duffed third.

Out in five over 41, he had a roller coaster finish by following a birdie at the 13th, a bogey at the 14th and the ace at the 16th with a three putt bogey at the 17th and a brilliant birdie at the last.

Reflecting on his up and down week, Lowry said: “I feel like my game wasn’t there and I didn’t hole enough putts. 

“I got a few breaks here and there the last couple of days and I feel like I could have been a little bit closer to the lead, but that’s the way Major golf is and that's the way this course is.  

“Every week you play a Major, especially the Masters is a learning curve and I learned a lot this week and I'm sure I'll take it with me in the future. 

As for the Olympics and Ryder Cup, he said: “Olympics, I’m on the team as it stands, but Ryder Cup is kind of one of the main goals, for sure this year. I need something good to happen soon. 

“I feel like my game's okay, and there's no alarm bells ringing anywhere, so I just need to get on with it and I got three weeks off now to kind of regroup and get back for Wells Fargo and I look forward to going there and hopefully doing something good.  I just need to get on with it.”