Lowry hole-in-one wows crowd as play suspended early at The Players Championship

By Sports Desk March 13, 2022

Shane Lowry made the biggest noise at TPC Sawgrass, even though Anirban Lahiri leads The Players Championship after the close of play on Sunday.

The Irishman hit a hole-in-one on the notorious par-three island green 17th hole, using a pitching wedge and getting the ball past the pin, before rolling back and dropping in.

The 2019 Open Championship winner came into the third round at one-under par, and bogeyed the par-five 11th before birdieing the 14th and 16th in a chaotic back nine.

After holing from the tee on the 17th, Lowry celebrated wildly with playing partner and Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter, proceeding to throw his ball into the crowd.

It was a stark contrast to the norm on the 17th, made even more treacherous with a stiff headwind, with Brooks Keopka and Collin Morikawa among those to put shots into the water.

On another weather-interrupted day, Lahiri leads the pack, managing to finish 11 holes on nine-under par overall as darkness descended on Sawgrass. The world number 322 bogeyed the first hole of the back nine, but steadied to birdie the par-five 11th.

Stormy weather in the Florida region has wreaked havoc on scheduling and bad light eventually stopped play on Sunday. The third round will finish on Monday, with all players at least managing to finish nine holes.

Tom Hoge and Harold Varner III are currently one shot back from Lahiri on eight-under par. Hoge bounced back from a bogey on the sixth, birdieing on the par-five ninth hole to close out his Sunday.

Sebastian Munoz, Paul Casey and Sam Burns are tied at seven-under overall, with Francesco Molinary, Daniel Berger, Camero Smith and Doug Ghim one further stroke back. at six-under overall.

With the second round finishing early on Sunday, Rory McIlroy only just managed to make the cut at two-over par. Driving into the water on the 16th, pars on the final two holes saved him, as two balls into the water from Scott Piercy on the 17th and missed the cut.

Having also just made the cut after 36 holes, FedExCup leader Scottie Scheffler is at one-over par, birdieing the par-five 16th to finish nine holes for the third round.

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    The four-time major champion has not triumphed in one of golf's top events since 2014 at the PGA Championship.

    McIlroy came within touching distance of ending that decade-long wait on Sunday but fell short in disappointing circumstances as Bryson DeChambeau claimed the US Open title by a shot in North Carolina.

    The 35-year-old McIlroy managed to bogey three of his final four holes in the last round at Pinehurst's No.2 course, including a woeful miss from a short putting distance on the 18th.

    DeChambeau was left to save par with an impressive up-and-down from the near-side bunker, leaving McIlroy to rue another missed opportunity on the major stage.

    "Yesterday was a tough day, probably the toughest I've had in my nearly 17 years as a professional golfer," McIlroy wrote on social media.

    "Firstly, I'd like to congratulate Bryson. He is a worthy champion and exactly what professional golf needs right now. I think we can all agree on that.

    "As I reflect on my week, I'll rue a few things over the course of the tournament, mostly the two missed putts on 16 and 18 on the final day.

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    "The one word that I would describe my career as is resilient. I've shown my resilience over and over again in the last 17 years and I will again."

    McIlroy was expected to play in this week's Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

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    "I'm going to take a few weeks away from the game to process everything and build myself back up for my defence of the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open at Royal Troon," he concluded.

    The Scottish Open does not start until July 11, leaving McIlroy with almost a month to recover from this setback.

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