Jason Dufner streaks clear of field at Memorial Tournament
Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington both produce strong second rounds in Ohio
Shane Lowry shot a second round 68 at the Memorial Tournament. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters
And while neither have a realistic hope of winning at Muirfueld Village Golf Club, both will be pleased with their efforts with the spectre of the summer’s Majors looming ever larger.
Lowry, who flirted with victory - and the €1 million winners cheque - in the BMW PGA Championship last weekend, followed up his opening 72 with a four under par 68.
Meanwhile Harrington, on his competitive return after undergoing surgery on a trapped nerve in his neck in March, signed for a second consecutive 71 to sit at two under par.
However the Irish duo are a long way off the white-hot pace set by joint-overnight leader Jason Dufner, who picked up where he left off on Friday.
The 2013 USPGA champion was level with Sweden’s David Lingmerth on seven under par after an opening 65 - and he matched that score in his second round, moving to 14 under par and opening up a six shot clubhouse lead.
Trying to keep up with Dufner was compatriot Rickie Fowler, whose second round 66 moved him to eight under par and into a share of second place.
But while victory looks set to elude Lowry again, the Offaly-man will be pleased with the flashes of form he has shown ahead of the US Open on June 15th.
He got off to a lightning start on Friday morning, and he birdied five holes on the opening nine - including an impressive run on seven, eight and nine.
However, he struggled to keep this momentum going throughout his round, and after a string of pars he dropped his first shot on the 14th.
He bounced back with a birdie on the 15th but then gave that shot straight back, before two pars saw him sign for a 68.
With the projected cut at two over par both Lowry and Harrington will comfortably make it into the weekend’s play , with world number one Dustin Johnson - who shot an opening round 78 - among those with work to do.
Elsewhere Paul Dunne’s challenge in the Nordea Open is over despite a much improved second round showing in Sweden.
Dunne followed up his opening 78 with a two under par 71 in Malmo - but still missed the one over par cut mark by two strokes.