PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club



PGA Tour

No green? No worries, as Irishmen Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are deep in the red at Zurich

April 27, 2024
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Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy study a putt during the Zurich Classic.

Chris Graythen

The two Irishmen playing as a team for the first time in the Zurich Classic outside of New Orleans have been wearing matching outfits all week. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry hardly look like twins, but they’ve suited up as a pair, wearing pink shirts and blue pants in the first round, all black in the second, and blue shirts and white pants on Saturday. What’s next? “Something green?” they were asked.

“I actually don't own a green shirt,” Lowry admitted with a smile. “So no, we don't have any green with us this week, so I don't know what we have, but we certainly don't have a green shirt. It's my fault.”

Their camaraderie is so strong they could be playing in Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops and still make for a formidable duo. On Saturday in the four-ball (best-ball) format, McIlroy-Lowry made six birdies over their last 10 holes to shoot eight-under 64 and head into Sunday’s final round trailing leaders Zac Blair and Patrick Fishburn by two shots.

The leading pair, whose friendship goes back to their childhoods in Utah, had a remarkable round, shooting 29 on the front nine en route to a 12-under 60 that put them at 23 under overall. Blair, who missed two years because of a shoulder injury, has made 184 PGA Tour starts without a win, while Fishburn is a rookie.

Going into Sunday’s foursomes (alternate shot), they lead Luke List and Henrik Norlander (62) by one stroke, and then close behind are Mark Hubbard and Ryan Brehm (64), and the Ryder Cup-seasoned McIlroy and Lowry.

McIlroy and Lowry have known each other for about 25 years, but they hadn’t talked about teaming up in the Zurich until McIlroy broached the subject after last year’s winning effort by Europe in the Ryder Cup. They opened at TPC Louisiana with a handsome 61, but struggled to only a 70 in alternate shot on Friday.

That kind of score will not get it done in the final round, in which McIlroy is seeking his first win since last July’s Genesis Scottish Open, and Lowry his first triumph since the 2022 BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour. Lowry’s last victory on the PGA Tour was the 2019 Open Championship, and he’s never won a “regular” event in America. His other triumph in the States came in the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

The Irishmen got off to a plodding start in the third round, scoring only two birdies over the first eight holes. But then McIlroy striped an iron close on the ninth for a birdie and the push was on.

“We did get off to a slow start. Then Rory McIlroy turned up on the ninth hole and it was all him from there on,” Lowry said. “And I was just kind of enjoying the ride.”

McIlroy did indeed do much of the work, including making a birdie at the 16th after Lowry hit his tee ball in the water. In their post-round interview with CBS’s Amanda Renner, Lowry groaned when they showed a replay. “Why are we showing this,” he said with a laugh. “Can we not show some birdies now?”

His partner was quick to point out that Lowry hit an excellent shot into the 17th hole—made really difficult by a stern wind in the players’ faces—to set up a smooth par.

“That was a huge shot just to keep …” McIroy started saying before Lowry interrupted, “See, he’s trying to make me feel good.” McIlroy replied, laughing, “I’m a good teammate.”

And it was McIlroy who closed the round with his own spectacular shot, splashing his greenside bunker shot to tap-in range for a birdie at the par-5 finisher.