Getting back on the horse after his US Open disappointment was never going to be easy for Shane Lowry. And so it proved at Firestone Country Club where the Offaly man struggled on the greens and opened with his highest first round score this season — a six-over par 76.
The tone was set when he bogeyed the first, bunkering a 100 yard wedge shot.
He would birdie the par-five second, the easiest hole on the course, but he hadn’t the touch or the patience after that and he would make another six bogeys, three putting twice in a 30 putt round to end the day tied for 51st in an event with no cut, 12 strokes behind pace-setter William McGirt (64).
The American leads by three from Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo, Jimmy Walker and world No 1 Jason Day, setting a new tournament record for the largest first-round lead
In contrast to Lowry, who was understandably rusty and lacking in focus in his first event back since his second place finish in the US Open at Oakmont, Jordan Spieth turned an ugly round into a two under 68 thanks to five closing birdies and some remarkable putting.
The 2015 FedExCup champion, hit just one green in regulation on the front nine and only two in the first 13 holes. But he recovered to cover the back nine in 31 with four birdies in his last four.
He required just 21 putts, including 13 one-putts as well as a chip-in at No. 8 for par.
"This is one of the best rounds -- one of the happiest 2-unders I've ever shot for sure. Yeah, it's up there. I wasn't supposed to shoot 2-under today. Somehow — and I kind of wish we kept on playing, even though I felt so kind of poor most of the round.”
Hoping he finds something soon and that his long game “clicks”, Spieth added: “That would go up there with the best putting rounds of my life.”