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Shane Lowry grabs first-round lead at Arnold Palmer Invitational with stunning 66

Posted : 08 March 2024

Ireland's Shane Lowry took the early lead at the US PGA Tour Arnold Palmer Invitational, posting an impressive six-under-par 66 in the first round. Despite acknowledging his historically poor record at Bay Hill, Lowry's exceptional performance included a 41-foot birdie putt at the second hole.


The highlight of his round came on the back nine, where he gained five shots in four holes, featuring birdies at 10, 11, and 13, as well as an eagle at 12. Lowry finished the day one stroke ahead of former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama and American Justin Lower.


Lowry, playing on a sponsor's invitation, reflected on his past struggles at Bay Hill, where he had missed the cut in five out of six prior starts. With low expectations, he expressed surprise at the seamless connection between his game and the course during the back nine. The 2019 Open Champion described the round as unusually easy and expressed satisfaction with his performance, considering his challenging history at the venue.


While Hideki Matsuyama battled back trouble, he positioned himself in contention with a solid first-round performance. Despite experiencing numbness in one leg, Matsuyama's momentum from his recent victory at the Tiger Woods-hosted Genesis Invitational helped him stay competitive.


The leaderboard also featured Americans Sahith Theegala, Russell Henley, Lee Hodges, and Sam Burns, all within one stroke of Lowry's lead, setting the stage for an exciting continuation of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.


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