Golf

Ireland’s Shane Lowry two strokes off the pace at Phoenix Open

Sahith Theegala hit a six-under-par 65 to finish on top after the first day of play.

Shane Lowry, of Ireland, hits out of a bunker on the 16th hole during the first round of the Phoenix Open (Ross D Franklin, AP)
Phoenix Open Golf Shane Lowry, of Ireland, hits out of a bunker on the 16th hole during the first round of the Phoenix Open (Ross D Franklin, AP) (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Ireland’s Shane Lowry is two shots off the lead held by American Sahith Theegala after a weather-hit opening day at the Phoenix Open.

Theegala hit seven birdies and a bogey in a six-under-par 65 and leads by one from compatriot Andrew Novak after the first day at Scottsdale.

Novak had only completed nine holes with around half of the field needing to complete their first rounds on Friday after a rain delay of more than three hours around lunchtime.

Theegala, who had played 14 holes before the break, said: “The weather was, it was not good, those last four holes felt great.

“I played great and that’s all I can do, really.”

Lowry, 36, who is tied third with S H Kim, started with six birdies and a bogey in his first nine holes, adding one bogey on the way home to finish with a 67. He said the weather made conditions “really bad towards the end”.

“We came back out, the wind was not blowing as strong but the ball was going nowhere, and it was cold and kind of tough,” he said.

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick dropped two late shots after the resumption to fall back to two-under- par, alongside Scotland’s Martin Laird and one ahead of European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald.