RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links


Shane Lowry's brutally honest answer shows even he's shocked to be leading at Bay Hill

March 08, 2024

Icon Sportswire

When handicapping PGA Tour events, there are clearly horses for courses—and then there's whatever the heck Shane Lowry is when it comes to Bay Hill.

To say the Ryder Cupper has played poorly at the Arnold Palmer Invitational would be an understatement. His track record there is bad. No, make that really bad. No, make that terrible. No, make that "HORRIFIC."

Lowry used that exact adjective with reporters following an opening 66 that made him an outright leader after Day 1. And the brutally honest Irishman was probably more shocked about that result than anyone on the property.

Q. Anyone looking at your record here --

SHANE LOWRY: It's horrific (laughing). My best finish here is tied 67th or something.

Right you are, Shane! A T-67 last year. That included a third-round 80. Although Shane sold himself short by a stroke in his next answer.

Q. So what happened?

SHANE LOWRY: I have no idea (laughing). I played here six times, I missed the cut five times. Last year I made the cut and shot 81 on Saturday and finished tied 67 or something around there. Going out there with very low expectations today. I knew I was playing well. Golf's a funny game. Just had it under control today. I can give you, going back on my career around this place, I can, last year was my first year in a few years to play it, so I feel like I was a bit of a different golfer then. But, yeah, it's one of these places where some people love it. I've struggled with it over the years. I come here, it's a nice place to come, it's a good, obviously a great tournament, a huge tournament, and I'm very happy with that today. Maybe that's the kind of score I need to shoot around here to just give myself the confidence to go out and play my game around here.

Yeah, maybe the third seventh time is the charm, Shane. That, and the fact Lowry is coming off being a 54-hole co-leader at the Cognizant Classic, so he's obviously in form at the moment. But he's only at Bay Hill because he was given one of the tour's four sponsor invites.

Q. What did you say in your letter for the sponsor invite?

SHANE LOWRY: Well, I'm very fortunate, I built up a great relationship with Mastercard over the years. I'm an ambassador, so, yeah, very fortunate to get an invite that way. I'm, obviously, happy to get the invite, and hopefully I can take advantage of it now.

Sounds like he didn't focus on that "horrific" track record in the letter. Smart move.

And if you're wondering why would he want to play at a place where he's played so badly? Well, we can think of 20 million reasons.