Shane Lowry had an historic start to the Players Championship on Thursday morning. The Offaly man flew out of the gates carding a 29 on the back nine at Sawgrass, and in doing so made history.
No one had ever broken 30 on the back nine at Sawgrass before.
But things could have been so different for Lowry. The Clara golfer came into the week very low on confidence after missing the cut at the Wells Fargo championship last week. Lowry's practise rounds were so bad, that he needed two major outside interventions - one an 'emergency call' to his coach, the other some friendly advice from good guy Graeme McDowell.
Speaking after his round, Lowry spoke about how low he was coming into the week:
I had no real confidence coming here. I kind of had a meltdown middle-of-the-back in practice. I almost wasn’t looking forward to the week.
I was losing the head. I was like almost thinking, ‘What’s the point being here?’ because I felt like I was playing poorly and I was struggling on the greens.
He told Sky Sports about that emergency call to his coach just before that magical final nine holes of his round to lie two shots back from leader Jason Day:
I had a bit of an emergency phone call with my coach this morning before I played. I just wanted to get some feelings off my chest. Things have not been going well and I did not feel comfortable on the golf course.
[He said] just go out and try to play my game, pick some targets was the big thing and try to hit it at them. If it does not happen it's not the end of the world.
That was the gist of it and it seemed to work today.
But Lowry's coach was only the second person to get to him. Northern Irish golfer, and all around good guy Graeme McDowell also reached out to Lowry after that 'near-meltdown' to help the Offaly man feel more comfortable on the slick Sawgrass greens:
I was getting a little over the ball, a little too close. He told just me to move an inch away from where it is and see how it feels then. And for some reason it just felt like it was easier to see my lines.
Whatever McDowell said it clearly worked - Lowry only needed 11 putts in that historic nine holes in recording five birdies and an eagle.