SHANE LOWRY HAS beaten world number one Rory McIlroy in the first round of the World Golf Championships Match Play Championship.
The Offaly native, ranked 68th in the world and the 64th-seed in the 64-man field, toppled McIlroy 1-up, while Charles Howell defeated 14-time major champion Tiger Woods at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club course at Dove Mountain.
Lowry, a friend of McIlroy’s from their days in the amateur ranks, made his run on the back nine, winning the 12th hole with a birdie and the 13th with an eagle to gain a two-up advantage.
McIlroy pulled one back at 14, but conceded the 15th after finding a series of bunkers. McIlroy then birdied the par-three 16th for a win, but they halved the last two holes with pars, and Lowry emerged victorious.
“Obviously it was always going to be a tough match for me against Rory today, but playing against the world number one, I’m feeling quite good now,” said Lowry, who sank a four-foot par putt at 18 to seal the win.
But it’s important not to get too high now, because it’s only the first round, and I’ve got another match tomorrow and am really looking forward to playing that.”
Neither Howell nor Woods made a bogey in their match, which ended with darkness closing in.
The round was continued from Wednesday, when a freak snowstorm in the Arizona desert cut short play, and Thursday’s start was delayed for several hours.
Here’s your ‘perk of being a rising international star’ pic of the day
Travis Tygart: We don’t need Lance Armstrong’s testimony