Lowry – ‘I knew I could beat him, I’m not here to make up the numbers’

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SHANE Lowry’s scalping of his close friend, World Number One Rory McIlroy, topped a day of upsets at the WGC – Accenture Match Play Championship.
After freak snowstorms in the Arizona desert had brought massive interruptions to the opening day’s play on Wednesday, the first round came to life on Thursday afternoon with Lowry securing an unforgettable one up victory over McIlroy at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
Not long after Lowry’s epic win, Charles Howell III took down World Number Two Tiger Woods two and one, while Rafa Cabrera Bello defeated Lee Westwood at the first extra hole.
But it was Lowry who stole the headlines, coming back from being two down after four holes to beat McIlroy on the last hole.
“To beat the World Number One is always going to be good,” smiled Lowry.
“I was quite nervous the first few holes, handed him a couple of holes, and just managed to stay in the game.
“I think he handed me ten and then I had two chip-ins in a row on 11 and 12 and made eagle on the next, which gave me the momentum to kick on and win from there.
“Deep down I knew I could beat him. I’m not here for no reason. I’m not here to make up the numbers.
“It was a bit of an up and down match, and I’m not going to lie, we didn’t play our best golf. But that’s match play, and that’s the way it is. I’m happy to get the win, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
In the other all-Ireland first round clash Graeme McDowell was forced to battle all the way before finally beating Padraig Harrington. GMAC was three up after 11 but then lost the next three holes, two with bogeys, to square the match.
The match remained tight for the rest of the round  until Harrington found trouble late to lose two of the final three holes.
McDowell said a key hole was the 15th when he followed Harrington’s birdie with one of his own to keep the match squared.
“That kind of got me buzzing,” McDowell said, “and I made some nice swings coming in.”
For McIlroy it was another disappointing outing since his high profile switch to Nike. He will defend his title in Honda Classic title next week in Palm Beach and vowed to hit the practice ground to iron out a few issues.
“I didn’t make enough birdies in the end.  Shane had a nice little stretch around part of the back nine.  I hung in there, but I just didn’t do enough,” said the World number one.
“It would have been nice to get through and just get another day here and another competitive round under my belt.  I’ll go and practice over the weekend and get ready for next week at the Honda.
“I missed a lot of irons right.  I felt like I drew the ball really well.  I hit the ball well off the tee.  I just need to take advantage of the driving I’ve been doing.”

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