‘I putted unreal’: Shane Lowry hopeful of making US Open cut after battling round

Stars have special tour bags; Fanagan to join Harrington at US Seniors Open; Maureen Madill’s wit

Shane Lowry walks off the 11th tee. Photograph: Alex Slitz/Getty

To his credit, Shane Lowry battled and grinded his way to a second round 71 – for midway total of five-over-par 145 – that left him hopeful he would make the cut to be around for the weekend at the US Open.

“I played well. I drove well. I putted unreal,” said Lowry, before blaming his iron play – “it’s been the best part of my game all year, they’re such small margins and it didn’t feel that far off” and a closing bogey for leaving him between a rock and hard place.

But it didn’t take long for that laugh of his break free.

“I don’t think I spin my irons enough for these greens. I am a lower spinning player and it helps me in other tournaments. Maybe going forward, if I’m playing a course like this I may have to change my ball or something, go for a spinnier ball. But then you don’t know how far it is going so what use is that?” he said to his own laughter.

Extra thought goes into tour bags

Long gone are the days when players brought standard tour bags into the Major championships, with the various manufacturers now going the extra mile to ensure some extra thought and effort goes into the product.

Take this 124th US Open at Pinehurst, where Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and the other TaylorMade contracted players have a rather fetching offering with their commemorative staff bags in hues of green, white and brown which were created in a homage to host venue Pinehurst.

There are subtle details worked into the bags which include an anchor on the valuable’s pocket which is a nod to Pinehurst being the first anchor USGA site, while the script of 1895 commemorates the year of Pinehurst’s founding and a sundial above the ball pocket reflects the resort’s logo.

And there were no fears that Scheffler or McIlroy could confuse their identical bags: Rory’s, as it has done for a number of years, featured his usual Labradoodle headcover on his driver!

Jody Fanagan to join Harrington at US Seniors Open

Pádraig Harrington was in Pinehurst at the start of the week for his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, but wasn’t exempt to play in the US Open and had decided not to attempt to qualify in battling a knee injury.

Instead, he took the opportunity for a well-deserved family break.

However, the 52-year-old Dubliner will go in quest of a second success in the upcoming US Seniors Open which takes place at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island on June 27th-30th where he will have his old Walker Cup partner Jody Fanagan for company.

Fanagan, who stayed with the family undertaker business rather than follow Harrington into the pro ranks back in the day, earned a spot in the championship after finishing runner-up to Todd White in last year’s US Seniors Amateur Championship.

Homa has a dose of the shanks

Former tour professional Maureen Madill has found a new lease of life in her role as an on-course commentator at big tournaments, including covering this week’s US Open for Sirius Radio with spectators able to listen in on happenings around the course.

In her commentary covering the group involving Max Homa, Madill’s lovely north Antrim brogue produced this gem after the player hit a second shank of his round: “Note to self, stand on the left!!”

Max Homa of the United States reacts after his shot from the sixth tee. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

“I had one of my best friends playing with me today, J.T. He was there for my ace at Augusta during the Par 3, as well. Our celebration this time was a little bit better” – Sepp Straka on his hole-in-one at the ninth hole of his second round, holing out with a 7-iron, on the embrace with his pal JT Poston.

By the Numbers


This 124th US Open is a special one for the USGA, being the 1,000th championship – across all of men’s and women’s golf, from amateur to professional – organised by the governing body for golf in North America.