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McDowell and Lowry just three shots adrift at the World Cup of Golf

The Irish pair lie in a tie for seventh after the opening round.

McDowell and Lowry had a good day despite a bogey on the last.
McDowell and Lowry had a good day despite a bogey on the last.
Image: Andrew Brownbill

IRELAND’S GRAEME MCDOWELL and Shane Lowry enjoyed an encouraging start to the World Cup of Golf overnight, shooting a level-par round to sit three shots off the pace.

The Spanish team of Rafael Cabrera Bello and Jon Rahim hold a one-shot advantage after the opening round of foursomes in Melbourne, with McDowell and Lowry lying in a tie for seventh.

The pair have endured difficult seasons individually but in their last tournament of 2016 have the opportunity to salvage something from the year and become the first Irish duo to win the World Cup in nine years.

A double-bogey seven on the eighth hole and then a further dropped shot on the last damaged an otherwise steady round which included three birdies.

While McDowell and Lowry bogeyed the 18th to end the round in disappointing fashion, Cabrera Bello birdied the final hole to secure a 69 for the Spanish pair and move them one clear at the top of the leaderboard.

Australia World Cup Golf Lowry watches his put on the 18th at Kingston Heath. Source: Andrew Brownbill

Americans Ricky Fowler and Jimmy Walker, French duo Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque and China pair Wu Ashun and Li Haotong all sit a shot behind.

The Spaniards carded three birdies and one eagle in total despite the difficult windy conditions in Melbourne, with Bello’s final putt hovering over the hole for what seemed an eternity before the ball dropped in to put them three-under-par.

Fowler and Walker recovered from slow starts to hit three straight birdies on the back nine and stay in touching distance, while the Chinese duo also finished on 70 thanks to a spectacular birdie on the 18th.

Home favourites Adam Scott and Marc Leishman could only manage a two-over-par 74, however, as the wind played havoc with their attempts to find the green in the early stages.

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Watched on by Socceroos great Tim Cahill, the Australian pair missed a par putt on the 18th to fall five shots off the pace.

The tournament is a 72-hole stroke-play event, with the 28 two-man teams playing alternate-shot foursomes on Thursday and Saturday and best-ball fourballs on Friday and Sunday.

Full leaderboard available here> 

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