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Monday 22 April 2019

Lowry fired up after his hole in one

CONFIDENT: Shane Lowry. Pic: Getty
CONFIDENT: Shane Lowry. Pic: Getty

With the eyes of the world on Rory McIlroy's quest for a career Grand Slam, Shane Lowry emerged "buzzing" on the eve of his fourth Masters after a second-hole ace in yesterday's Par Three contest.

The Clara man was left beaming from ear to ear as he became one of only two players to record a hole-in-one in the traditional Wednesday curtain-raiser.

That it wasn't enough to help Lowry win the competition was hardly dispiriting, given no Par Three winner has ever become Masters champion in the same year. One of the early starters today with a 13.52pm (Irish time) tee-time with former champion Mike Weir and US amateur Kevin O'Connell, Lowry's ace followed that of his father, Brendan's, during practice at The Bear's Club last week.

And it's not his first Augusta hole-in-one, Lowry having aced the 16th with an eight iron in his final round during the 2016 Masters.

"That was great fun out there" he admitted afterwards, having let wife, Wendy, putt out on nine, his chances of overall victory essentially scuppered by a missed four foot birdie putt on eight.

"It was a lovely atmosphere. And I can't wait to get started tomorrow now."

Former champion Jordan Spieth insists he still has high expectations of himself this week, despite his current form allowing him to fly under the radar.

Spieth looks an unlikely contender for a second green jacket given that the former number one has slipped to 33rd in the world rankings and has failed to finish better than 30th in a strokeplay event in 2019.

However, the three-time major winner's record in the Masters is simply extraordinary and includes second place on his debut in 2014, a record-breaking victory the following year and third in 2018.

"My expectations are high this week," the 25-year-old said. "I feel like my recent results aren't a tell of where my game is actually at and I feel I've made a lot of strides in the last couple of days."

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