Shane Lowry of Ireland lines up a putt on the 16th green in the second round holding a putter he obtained after driving to a store an hour from the course because he broke his putter in the first round

Washington (AFP) - Ireland’s Shane Lowry, the 2019 British Open champion, surprised shoppers at a golf store after accidentally breaking his putter during the PGA CJ Cup.

Using his newly purchased putter, Lowry fired a four-under par 67 on Friday to stand on seven-under 135, four off the lead after 36 holes at Congaree Golf Club at Ridgeland, South Carolina.

“New putter was OK,” Lowry said. “Behaved early on, but then left a few short. It’s funny when you’re kind of not used to something, but yeah, it was fine.”

Lowry responded Friday with birdies on four of the first eight holes and holed another birdie putt from just inside 10 feet at 13 before his lone bogey at 15.

Lowry broke his putter during Thursday’s opening round and was forced to make his shopping trip as the course equipment trailers had departed the course on Wednesday.

“It just snapped in half, one of those freak things,” Lowry said.

“I was pulling my putter out of the bag and as it came out, it fell. Tried to flick it up with my foot and I caught it like right where the graphite meets the steel on those shafts and it just snapped in half.

“I had to like pick Matt Fitzpatrick off the ground from laughing.”

Lowry used a lob wedge as a putter before he agent retrieved a putter from a member’s bag in the clubhouse to complete the round.

After that, he drove an hour to Bluffton, South Carolina, to a PGA Tour Superstore, where equipment maker Odyssey sent a putter for him and he also purchased a new putter for $229.

“My shopping experience was great,” Lowry said. “I bought another one just in case.”

While the workers had been tipped off there was a major champion on the way to the store directly from the course, fellow shoppers were a bit startled to see a major winner among them.

“They were really nice and couldn’t have been any more helpful,” Lowry said of the staff. “The customers were doing a couple of double takes. It was fine. Never a dull moment.”