[PHOTO: Chris Graythen]

Coming into the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Chad Ramey and Martin Trainer had a combined 212 starts and just one PGA Tour victory apiece. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry had 26, including five major championships. Given those numbers, no one was surprised the latter pair emerged victorious on the first playoff hole to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans with an alternate-shot birdie on the par 5.

Not that it was remotely easy for the pair. Playing catch-up most of the day after Ramey and Trainer tied the tournament record for the alternate-shot format with a remarkable 63 that included 11 birdies and nine over the final 12 holes, some heroics were needed.

McIlroy provided the majority of them over the back nine, rolling in a huge birdie putt on the 11th then cashing in another with his TaylorMade Spider X X3 mallet putter at the 16th after Lowry hit a clutch approach from a fairway bunker.

A bogey at 17 after a stray tee shot by Lowry left the duo needing a birdie at the last to tie and McIlroy delivered a bomb off the tee with his TaylorMade Qi10 driver. He then hit a nifty pitch shot after Lowry’s iron approach went wide left to set up the tying birdie.

Although the result wasn’t a surprise, that McIlroy and Lowry won with a par was. The Ramey/Trainer tandem showed the effects of the long layoff after finishing two hours and 15 minutes before the leaders. A poor drive was followed by a hooked approach. Then came a flubbed pitch by Trainer. Ramey’s putt through the fringe came up seven feet short and Trainer’s par effort never came close to the hole.

In other words, experience paid off.

The clubs Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry used to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans:

Rory McIlroy

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 (Fujikura Ventus Black 6x), 9 degrees

3-wood: TaylorMade Qi10, 15 degrees

5-wood: TaylorMade Qi10, 18 degrees

Irons (4): TaylorMade prototype; (5-9): TaylorMade Rors prototype; (PW): TaylorMade MG4

Wedges: TaylorMade MG3 (50, 54 degrees); Titleist Vokey Wedgeworks (59 degrees)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X X3

Shane Lowry

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV

Driver: Srixon ZX5 MkII (Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 70 TX), 8.5 degrees

4-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus, 18 degrees

Irons (3): Srixon ZX MkII; (4-5): Srixon ZX5 MkII; (6-PW): Srixon AX7 MkII

Wedges: Cleveland RTX6 ZipCore (50, 54 degrees); Cleveland RTX ZipCore Full Face (60 degrees)

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Z