Shane Lowry says the experience of being announced as defending Champion Golfer will live with him for a long time and was proud of the way he fought on day one of The 149th Open.
Lowry made four birdies and five bogeys, including one on the 18th, in an opening round of 71 to sit at +1 heading into Friday, while playing partner Louis Oosthuizen carded a six-under round of 64.
There were some moments of magic from the Irishman, including a brilliant approach shot from the deep rough to set up a birdie at the 12th, but he admits he was fighting against his own game somewhat at Royal St George’s.
“I'd say I played pretty average, I didn't play my best golf,” explained Lowry. “But then again, you're playing with Louis who's shooting six-under and playing great. It kind of makes you feel a little bit different.
“I was disappointed to bogey the last. I think if I would have parred the last and shot level par I would have been quite happy with myself going home this afternoon, but I didn't.
“I got an unfortunate bounce and went into the bunker and made bogey. But I battled hard – I was quite proud of myself. On to tomorrow.”
Thanks to his scintillating triumph at Royal Portrush in 2019 and the fact that last year’s Open Championship was cancelled, Lowry’s round begun with him being announced as the defending Champion Golfer of the Year on the first tee, to a rapturous reception from the fans in attendance.
And the 34-year-old claims that moment meant even more to him because it had delayed by 12 months, even if it got the butterflies in his stomach going before the opening tee shot.
“It was a very special day for me,” he added. “The announcement on the first tee, I've been waiting over a year for that, so it's quite nice.
“It was quite unsettling at the start and I got off to a pretty nervy start. I battled hard for the rest of it.
“But it's so good to have the crowds here and it's so good to be playing in the Open Championship like we know – the big crowds and getting clapped in the grandstands and on the tees, that's pretty cool.”