“Pretty annoyed and pretty pissed off, to be honest.”
It was not the typical post-round news conference for a golfer who had achieved an Open Championship feat unaccomplished in 21 years and smashed personal records.
Despite incredible back-to-back eagles at St. Andrews on Saturday, Shane Lowry left the Old Course bitterly disappointed as a string of missed putts stunted the Irishman’s third round surge up the leaderboard.
Beginning the day tied for 25th at four-under par, the 2019 champion had made a steady one-under start before his round exploded into life at the par-four ninth hole. After a booming opening drive had put him in the rough to the left of the pin, Lowry pitched in a stunning 43-yard chip for eagle.
Mere minutes later, the 35-year-old repeated his eagle feat from three yards further out, finding the 10th hole from the fairway to spark a huge roar from the onlooking crowd.
It made Lowry – who had previously shot just one eagle in 12 years and 548 holes at The Open – the first golfer since Phil Mickelson at Royal Lytham in 2001 to sink back-to-back eagles at the major, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
He had only eagled three times on par-fours on the PGA Tour since turning professional in 2009, according to PGA Tour Communications.
The Open's greatest implosions
Heading into the final eight holes, Lowry’s heroics had looked set to tee up a pursuit of second round leader Cameron Smith, six strokes ahead at 13-under. Yet despite a birdie finish, three bogeys in six holes derailed the Irishman’s charge.
Returning to the clubhouse tied for 13th at seven-under after shooting 69, Lowry only briefly touched on his “pretty cool” eagle feat.
“It was good fun when those two went in, but the rest of the day wasn’t so enjoyable,” he told reporters.
“I feel like I played OK, but it wouldn’t take Einstein to figure out what went wrong on the back nine. My putting was horrific.
“It’s not good enough when you put in all those hours every day to give yourself those chances on the back nine of a major on a Saturday and Sunday and you don’t perform, you need to look at something,” Lowry added.
Adding he was planning to spend the afternoon on the practice putting green beside the 1st tee, Lowry said his performance had left him with “no chance” of challenging for a second Open win.
“I’m so disappointed to be honest because I worked so hard, and I work so hard to get myself in those positions,” he said.
“If I had holed anything all week I would still be out there playing. I’d be thereabouts with the leaders … my game has been good enough all week. To be honest, I think it’s a credit to my game the way I fought to be top 20 going into Sunday around here.
“I’m trying my best, I don’t have the answer. If I did, I wouldn’t need to go to the putting green now. But it’s just hard, this game is hard sometimes.”