Shane Lowry makes cut despite closing bogeys in Spain
Offaly golfer set for weekend action despite dropped shots at final two holes
Shane Lowry made a bogey on his closing two holes in a second round of 74 at the Spanish Open at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Shane Lowry is set to make his first cut in four attempts despite dropping shots on his final two holes during the second round at the Spanish Open on Friday.
The Offaly golfer was in line to make the weekend at PGA Catalunya comfortably after a birdie on the sixth hole, his 15th of the day, brought him back to level par for the tournament.
But after closing with two bogeys in a second round 74 left him on two over and right on the cut line as the the afternoon starters took to the course.
Higgins closed with three straight bogeys in a 74, while Phelan was another Irish golfer to suffer at the ninth as a bogey at his last also left him on three over. Gareth Maybin is one under after carding a two-under 70, with Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley slipping back to level after also making a bogey on the ninth, his final hole, in a round of 72.
Simon Thornton sneaked into the weekend’s play despite a 76 dropping him back to four over.
Dutchman Joost Luiten shrugged off a warning for slow play to claim a share of the lead with England’s Eddie Pepperell early in the second day, but it was Belgian Thomas Pieters who led by one at the close of play after a second 69 saw him move to six under.
Pieters, the world number 690, produced a storming finish to claim the halfway lead.
Pieters was two over par for the day after 10 holes but birdied five of the next seven to come home in 31. The 6ft 5in 22-year-old only secured his European Tour card via the qualifying school on the same course in November.
Earlier, the group of Luiten, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Francesco Molinari were put on the clock by tournament officials after falling out of position, with Luiten given a first “bad time” for taking too long on his second shot to the seventh.
A second transgression would have meant a one-shot penalty but the Ryder Cup hopeful went on to birdie the 542-yard par five and picked up another shot on the ninth – his final hole – to card a second round of 69 and join Pepperell on five under par.
“I didn’t know we were on the clock for two holes to start with and then she (an R&A rules official) came up and said you had a bad time,” Luiten told Sky Sports. “Someone was talking so I had to step out of the shot. It was only one bad time so I knew I could not do it again but I made a nice birdie at the end of that hole so it was okay.
“You have your routine and if you don’t have to step out of the shot you are in time so I didn’t really worry about it too much.”
Pepperell had carded an opening 68 to claim a one-shot lead overnight and was five shots clear of the field when, after starting on the back nine, he birdied the 10th and 11th and eagled the 12th.
However, he then ran up a double-bogey six on the 14th and bogeyed the 18th to be out in 35, with two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine meaning the 23-year-old from Oxford had to settle for a 71.
“The game’s been pretty good for two days and five under puts me in a really nice spot for the weekend,” said Pepperell, who finished 76th on the Race to Dubai in his rookie season last year.