Irish Open: Oscar Floren leads at Carton House - Shane Lowry close in second
By Paul Higham - On Twitter @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 27/06/13 9:07pm
Sweden's Oscar Floren holds a one-shot lead after the first round of the Irish Open ahead of former winner and Carton House professional Shane Lowry.
Floren hit four birdies and holed his second shot on the par-four 13th for eagle to card a six-under round of 66 on a rainy first day in Kildare to take the first round lead.
26-year-old Lowry is definitely at home this week as the touring professional for Carton House, and he showed his knowledge of his home course by shooting one of five rounds of 67 to sit in a tie for second.
First round leaders:
GB & Ire unless stated
-6 O Floren (Swe)
-5 S Lowry
-5 M Hoey
-5 J Luiten (Ned)
-5 P Uihlein (US)
-5 J-B Gonnet
Click here for full collated scores.
Northern Irishman Michael Hoey is one of those men on five-under, alongside American Peter Uihlein, Dutchman Joost Liuten and Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet.
The in-form Thomas Bjorn is just one shot further back on four-under after his first round 68 playing alongside Lowry and Rory McIlroy - who endured another bad day on the course after shooting 74, but at least all his clubs remained intact this time.
"I played great today and it was nice to get off to a good start again," Floren said. "I've had good starts the last couple of weeks but this was very good.
"It was very, very solid and that's the way I like to play, to hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, and eventually some putts are going to drop."
Lowry, who was still an amateur when he won the Irish Open in fairytale fashion at Baltray in 2009, owns a house on the course, but revealed: "Family are banned from the house until Sunday afternoon.
"I always hang out with Graeme Storm and Oliver Fisher and when the tournament was announced I said they could stay with me. I'm trying to keep my routine as normal as possible this week.
"It would seem like there should be more pressure on me this week, but I'm looking at it as an advantage. I play this course week-in, week-out and know it like the back of my hand.
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"I went to Baltray just happy to be there and would have been happy going home with four rounds under my belt, but obviously I came away with a lot more than that. This week and 2009 is like chalk and cheese. You can say I'm coming here trying to win the tournament but I'm trying not to talk too much about it."
Paul Casey looks to be finding some sort of form as he shot 68 along with former Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
Defending champion Jamie Donaldson, who won at Portrush 12 months ago, is not too far behind on three-under after his 69 - just three shots off the pace.