Offaly man Shane Lowry caused a major upset earlier this morning by beating fellow Irish man Rory McIlroy at the Accenture World Match Play at Arizona.
The game had originally been scheduled to take place earlier in the week, but had to be delayed due to heavy snowfall on the course. When proceeding finally got underway and it was the world number 68 that hit the ground running and took the spoils. The victory of the underdog saw McIlroy become the third number one in the last four years to lose their opening World Match Play tie.
There was everything to play for going into the final hole, as the former amateur team-mates stood neck and neck, but Lowry raised his game on the back stretch and his chip-ins at 11 and 12 proved to be the difference between the two men on the day. Despite finding two bunkers on the 18th, Lowry had done enough and went on to win on his debut in the famous competition.
The focus will now fall on McIlroy’s change of equipment after yet another defeat. Since switching to Nike in the close-season, the world No 1 has missed the cut at Abu Dhabi and has now fallen at the first hurdle to a player ranked 57 players below him. With only three events left on his schedule before The Masters, McIlroy faces a race against time to turnaround form.
With Tiger Woods losing out to Charles Howell, the top two seeds have already departed the tournament and there must be a real chance that Lowry can progress even further.