Family comes first as Lowry bounces back with 66 in Hilton Head

Family comes first as Lowry bounces back with 66 in Hilton Head
 Shane Lowry reflects on life in general and his 66 in the RBC Heritage

Shane Lowry reflects on life in general and his 66 in the RBC Heritage

Shane Lowry confessed that looking at the big picture and the things that really matter in life made all the difference as he opened with a five-under-par 66 on his debut in the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.

The Offaly ace, 30, was bitterly disappointed to miss the cut by a shot in the Masters and admitted that putting too much pressure on himself has forced him to take a step back and put thoughts of his family and newborn baby daughter first.

After holing a 60 footer for his seventh birdie of the day at the last — and almost 156 feet of putts all day — the pride of Clara is tied for fifth, three shots behind American Bud Cauley.

"I wake up this morning, and I've got videos from my wife of our little girl," Lowry said. "It's just nice. Makes you feel different. 

"And I think I'm trying to gather my head around I'm playing for her and those are probably the only things that matter. 

"Golf is only a sport. At the end of the day it's my career, but something that I probably put too much pressure on myself. And we need to look at what really matters in life. And that's it."

Lowry has had a tough time since he finished second to Dustin Johnson in the US Open last year.

Since that reverse and his failure to make the European Ryder Cup team, he has had just two top 20s in a regular PGA Tour events and fallen from 25th to 66th in the world.

"Yeah, I've had a lot of disappointments lately in golf," Lowry said. "I feel like I haven't really had anything going for me. And to see that putt go in at the last is a sigh of relief. 

Golf is only a sport. At the end of the day it’s my career, but something that I probably put too much pressure on myself. And we need to look at what really matters in life. And that’s it.
— Shane Lowry

"Hopefully that's kind of turned the corner. I hit a decent putt, but I hit it too hard and it's probably going ten feet past, at least. And it went in. It's one of those things where hopefully I'll look back at the end of the year and say that's the turning point."

Lowry didn't get to play a practice round with former RBC Heritage winner Graeme McDowell, who is tied for 91st after a one-over 72.

But he revealed that his decision to walk the course on Wednesday gave him some extra course knowledge that paid off in round one.

"I played the course on my own actually on Tuesday, and as I wasn't in the Pro-Am, I walked the course again just to get to know the tee shots, which is something I never do." 

"It's the type of course, because it's in the trees, and a lot of holes kind of look the same, and when you're on the green you're walking to the next tee and you can't remember what hole it is. It's nice to get a visual for that, and that's why I walked the course yesterday.

"This is a tough golf course; it's tough off the tee. To be perfectly honest I didn't feel that comfortable. I hit it okay, I just went out and committed to every shot. 

"And on the last I had a 5-iron and a bit of in between numbers, between 5 and 6, but obviously it was going to play for long. I said I committed to every shot today so I might as well commit to this one. 

"That's what I need to start doing again. I need to commit to every shot, commit to every putt and see where it leaves me. Today it's a 66. Tomorrow it might be something different. And that's just the way it is."

Leader Cauley shot an eight-under-par 63 to lead by two strokes from Luke Donald, Graham DeLaet and Sam Saunders with Lowry tied for fifth with Russell Henley, Danny Lee, Ian Poulter, Ben Crane and Webb Simpson.