Lowry found it hard to go on his first round at Galgorm Castle
Open champion Shane Lowry struggled to a five-over-par 75 on the first day of the Irish Open at Galgorm Castle.
Lowry, who joined the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush for the first time since picking in Ireland in July 2019, faces a battle to make it to the halfway point.
The Offaly man placed eight bogeys and three birdies in his round, including shooting a shot on the 18th.
South African Dean Burmester and England's Jordan Smith are the first clubhouse leaders under five.
Burmester birdied seven of the first 12 holes, but a double bogey six on the 17th saw him fall back in sight of the chasing platoon.
Smith matched his 65th with a bogey-free lap as he pursues a second European Tour success after winning the European Open in 2017.
Burmester also has a European Tour victory to his credit, triumphing in the Tswane Open in his native country in 2017.
& # 39; A comedy of errors & # 39;
Lowry won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009 and traveled to County Antrim from the United States, where he finished 43rd in last week's US Open at Winged Foot.
"It was a comedy of mistakes out there – there wasn't" any "part of my game that was above average," Lowry said after his round.
"Every time I made some really bad decisions, I got my shots really bad. I really struggled on the greens too.
"It's not easy to get a score like that if you really want to perform well. I have to go out on Friday fighting for the cut."
Englishman Toby Tree is one of the clubhouse leaders at four bottom, with Swede Rikard Karlberg and Irish amateur James Sugrue bottom three.
Sugrue, 24, also played in the US Open last week as part of his reward for winning the Amateur Championship at Portmarnock in 2019.
South African Dean Burmester dropped the gauntlet with an early 65 on Thursday
Dutchman Daan Huizing and Swede Joakim Largergren, both former winners of the Northern Ireland Open Challenge Tour event on the Ballymena Park Track, are good at level par.
Highly sought after South African George Coetzee was grouped with Lowry for the first two rounds and fared slightly better than his playing partner by to fire a one-over 71.
Coetzee followed consecutive victories at the Sunshine Tour & # 39; s Titleist Championship and European Tour & # 39; s Portugal Masters with a tie for third place at last week's Open de Portugal – his ninth worldwide top 10 for 2020.
Europe Ryder Cup captain and ex-Irish Open winner Padraig Harrington, who played competitively for the first time in seven months, took early shots at the second and fourth hole.
Dropping shots on the fifth and seventh saw the three-time great winner fall back to level par.
The location in Galgorm organizes a European Tour event for the first time after the event, which was originally scheduled at Mount Juliet in Kilkenny in May. postponed.