Edinburgh man Neil Manchip helped Shane Lowry get his bid to make Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup team in 2020 off to a sensational start.
The 31-year-old Irishman equalled a 13-year-old course record with a 10-under-par 62 as he swept into a three-shot lead after the opening round in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Lowry has been tutored by former Turnhouse member Manchip, the Irish national coach, since his amateur days, and the pair had a chat on Tuesday night that seemed to pay dividends.
“I speak to him about everything that’s going on in my life,” said Lowry. “I can tell him anything. I can trust him with anything. We had a great conversation last night about things.
“We actually had dinner and, after we left, I texted him and said, ‘do you fancy going for a coffee, just for a chat’. We just talked about going forward. I bounce everything off him, and he’s been great for me.”
Richie Ramsay fared best among the three Lothians-based players in the field with a two-under 70 – one shot better than Grant Forrest on his Rolex Series debut.
Forrest holed a 25-footer for a bogey at the third – his 12th – to give himself a “bit of a momentum boost” before picking up two birdies in the final three holes. “It was a bit up and down,” said the Craigielaw player. “It’s not the best golf I’ve played but I dug in and I was pleased with my patience and attitude out there.”
Ramsay’s par-breaking start came in his first competitive outing since digging deep in the final regular event of last season – the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama – to hang on to his card for an 11th successive season.
“I’m more than happy with two-under,” declared the three-time European Tour winner.
Stephen Gallacher dropped four shots in three holes from the 12th as he had to settle for a 74. Cockburnspath’s David Drysdale fared better with a 69 but was disappointed to end with a double-bogey. “That was a dreadful finish; the easiest 7 you could ever make,” he said.