Beautiful Day for Lowry and Harrington
Shane Lowry at the launch of the  2020 JP McManus Pro-Am  at Adare Manor

Shane Lowry at the launch of the 2020 JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor

Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington lived up to their walk-on music when they opened with a nine-under-par 63 in the  $7.1m Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

After marching out to U2’s ‘Beautiful Day', they covered the back nine at TPC Louisiana in five-under 31, then played the front in 32 to finish their marathon day — they took six hours — just three shots behind leaders Chez Reavie and Lucas Glover in a tie for ninth.


The American pair shot a 12-under 60 and were eventually joined at the top by China's Xinjun Zhang and  Zechung Dou, two shots ahead of Tony Finau and Daniel Summerhays, JJ Henry and Scott Hoge, Andrew Putnam and Korea’s Michael Kim, England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Paisley, Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown, and Troy Merritt and Brendon de Jonge

Lowry made birdies at the 11th, 12th, 13th and 16th and followed a Harrington birdie two at the 17th with a two of his own at the third to put the six-under.

But it was Harrington who did the scoring coming home, firing a 190-yard approach to four feet at the tough sixth before converting chances from around 10 feet at the seventh and eighth.

Pádraig Harrington at the launch of the  2020 JP McManus Pro-Am  at Adare Manor

Pádraig Harrington at the launch of the 2020 JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor

Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter sent European Ryder Cup skipper Thomas Bjorn a timely reminder of their bonding skills with a seven-under 65 early in the day.

While Poulter is just outside the eight automatic places for a place in Bjorn’s side thanks to his recent playoff win in the Houston Open, McDowell needs a big week to get himself into the reckoning for a trip to Le Golf National in Paris, where he has twice won the Open de France.

He might just get it after Poulter birdied the last three holes to leave them tied 21st with the likes of Masters champion Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay, veterans David Duval and Jim Furyk, and Henrik Stenson and Rose with the top 42 teams making the cut after today's foursomes.

West Waterford's Seamus Power and Canadian David Hearn shot a six-under 66 to be tied 32nd alongside three-time major winner Jordan Spieth and partner Ryan Palmer. 

On the European Tour, Greystones' Paul Dunne needed all his short game skills to open with one-under 71 in the Volvo China Open in Beijing.

He's tied for 48th, seven strokes adrift of home favourite Jin Daxing, who made an eagle and six birdies in an error-free 64 at Topwin Golf & Country Club to lead by a shot from England's Matt Wallace and Italy's Nino Bertasio on eight-under par.

Dunne got up and down expertly to save bogey at the 14th, slipped a nine-footer in the side door for a precious birdie at the 15th and then made good par-save at the 16th to finish in the red after a topsy-turvy round featuring four bogeys and five birdies.