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Shane Lowry makes insane Arnold Palmer Invitational history

Shane Lowry’s best finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational came a year ago, when he shot an 8-over 80 in the third round and finished 67th.

In his four other appearances at Bay Hill, the Irishman missed the cut each time.

And yet, Lowry, who received a sponsor’s exemption this week, leads by himself after day one, thanks to an outstanding 6-under 66.

“Golf’s a funny game,” Lowry said.

“I’ve struggled with [Bay Hill] over the years. I came here because it’s a nice place to go. It’s obviously a great tournament, a huge tournament, and I’m very happy with that today. Maybe that’s the kind of score I need to shoot around here to give myself the confidence to go out and play my game around here.”

Shane Lowry, PGA Tour, Arnold Palmer Invitational

Shane Lowry on the 10th hole during the first round of the 2024 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Lowry’s 66 came about because of a historic run between the 10th and 12th holes.

After shooting a 1-under 35 on the front nine, Lowry turned to the back side, which played much easier than the opening nine holes.

He stuck his approach at 10 to four feet and made birdie.

At the next hole, the tough par-4 11th, Lowry rolled in a 35-footer to get to 3-under on the day.

Then, at the par-5 12th, the Irishman hit his second shot from 277 yards to 18 feet away. He rolled that putt in for an eagle three and made history in the process.

Lowry became the first player to make three consecutive threes on the 10th, 11th, and 12th holes, per the PGA Tour,

But the man from County Offaly was not finished.

He poured in a 20-footer for birdie at the 13th, to quickly get to 6-under.

Just like that, Lowry sat atop the leaderboard.

“It’s funny. When you’re out there playing, and you get on a run like that, it does feel pretty easy,” Lowry said of his historic four-hole stretch.

“Look, I probably never have seen it play as easy on an afternoon as I did today. Obviously, we got a bit of rain on Tuesday night; we might have got a little bit last night, which helped us a little bit. It’s normally one of the firmest golf courses we play, and I’m sure over the weekend, it’s going to firm up and become really difficult, but obviously, 66 is a really good start.”

Lowry also called the conditions “benign.”

The wind died down on Thursday at Bay Hill, producing ideal field scoring conditions. Typically, the scoring average plays over par, but for the first round, it played 71.5—a half stroke under par.

But the Irishman knows things will get more challenging as the week progresses. Temperatures in the high 80s and winds hovering around 20 miles per hour will burn Bay Hill out, turning it into a U.S. Open-like atmosphere.

“I’m not taking anything for granted going out there [Friday],” Lowry said.

“I’m still going out there and try to hit the first fairway and try to hit the first green and try and hole my first putt. Golf is as simple and as hard as that. I’m not going to get ahead of myself.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.



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