Lowry and McIlroy fail to cash in fully as English blazes a trail in Memphis

American star takes two-shot lead over Cameron Smith and Abraham Ancer

Rory McIlroy drives from the seventh tee during the second round of the FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy drives from the seventh tee during the second round of the FedEx St Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

 

It was a frustrating day for Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy in the second round of the WGC St Jude Invitational for different reasons as they were rendered peripheral participants in terms of the upper echelon of the leaderboard.

Soft greens, reasonably accommodating pin positions and not a breath of wind emasculated the layout to a degree that left it vulnerable and many of the 66 players in the no-cut event availed of benign conditions; none more so than Harris English who followed by his opening 62 with a 65 for a 13 under total and the lead.

His closest pursuers were Australia’s Cameron Smith and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, both carding eight-under-par rounds off 62 to make it to 11 under.

Playing the 18th hole, Smith was chasing the record for the fewest putts in a round, having taken just 16 in his first 17 holes. He needed to single putt the last green to beat the record of 18 (11 occasions) but took two with the blade from 20-feet to equal the mark. A 62 and an 11 under total was a reasonable consolation.

Harris won his first PGA Tour title at this venue back in 2013 and following a change of coach and a swing reconstruction he has won twice this season for his second and third victories. It could have been even better given the quality of his iron play but a handful of missed chances gave his pursuers a modicum of encouragement.

Unfortunately not among that cadre was the Irish duo, their respective tales more prosaic. Lowry’s bogey on the 10th, his opening hole – he caught a greenside bunker and failed to get up and down – took him back to one under for the tournament, some 10 shots behind English at that point as the American approached the turn.

The Irishman scrambled well on a couple of occasions to avoid dropping further shots before making inroads in a positive vein and getting involved in the birdie blitz. He stiffed his wedge to two feet on the 15th and then took advantage of the par-five 16th, getting up and down for a second successive birdie.

He made it three in succession at the 17th, his eighth, capitalising on another glorious approach to hole from eight feet to move to four under for the tournament. Finding the water with his second to the par-five third, he did brilliantly to rescue a par but a wild tee shot on the fifth, which forced him to take a penalty drop and pre-empted a double bogey.

A birdie on the eighth partially addressed the damage as Lowry signed for a one-under-par, 69, three under for the 36 holes and still those 10 adrift of Harris.

Starting the day on two over, McIlroy’s frustration on the greens was both palpable and understandable.

The Northern Ireland golfer played quite beautifully at times but could find little favour with the putter; certainly not the reward his play merited. He turned in two under, three birdies to a single bogey but as chances continued to slip by, literally, it could have come to a head at the 14th, when after a pulled tee shot, he threatened briefly to break the club over his knee but thought better of it.

A birdie on the par-five 16th moved him to red figures for the tournament at one under and the irony of rolling in a 20-footer for birdie on the last, allowed him a rueful grin: the 66 about the worst return given the overall quality of his work from tee to green.

Meanwhile, a three hour 20 minute delay due to inclement weather meant that the second round of the European Tour’s Hero Open at the Fairmont St Andrews course in Fife could not be completed.

Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard shot a second round 62 to take a two shot lead on 15 under from Scotland’s Calum Hill with Justin Walters (South Africa) and Santiago Tarrio (Spain) a shot further back.

Jonathan Caldwell followed his opening round 64 with a 70, for a 10 under total. The Northern Ireland golfer recovered from three bogeys in the first five holes with birdies at the third, seventh, 13th, 15th and 18th in a laudable fight back.

Gavin Moynihan (73)lies on the cut mark of one under while Niall Kearney (-3) was still on the course. Greystones’ Paul Dunne (68), Cormac Sharvin (76) and Tom McKibbin (74) will all missed Saturday’s cut.

WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational leaderboard

USA unless stated, Par 70

127 Harris English 62 65

129 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 67 62,Cameron Smith (Aus) 67 62

130 Sam Burns 66 64, Ian Poulter (Eng) 64 66, Scottie Scheffler 65 65

131 Bryson DeChambeau 65 66, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 67 64

132 Jim Herman 64 68, Will Zalatoris 66 66

133 Daniel Berger 66 67, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 64 69

134 Paul Casey (Eng) 68 66, Stewart Cink 68 66, Tony Finau 69 65, Max Homa 66 68, Dustin Johnson 69 65, Ryan Palmer 70 64, Justin Thomas 67 67, Matthew Wolff 64 70,

135 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 67 68, Billy Horschel 68 67, Jason Kokrak 67 68, Phil Mickelson 69 66,

136 Corey Conners (Can) 67 69, Marc Leishman (Aus) 65 71, Robert MacIntyre (Sco) 69 67, Webb Simpson 71 65, Lee Westwood (Eng) 67 69,

137 Matt Jones (Aus) 69 68, Brad Kennedy (Aus) 67 70, Martin Laird (Sco) 68 69, Shane Lowry (Irl) 68 69, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 68 69, Aaron Rai (Eng) 70 67, Patrick Reed 68 69, Robert Streb 71 66,

138 Patrick Cantlay 71 67, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 70 68, Garrick Higgo (Rsa) 68 70, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 73 65, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 72 66, Collin Morikawa 67 71, Kevin Na 67 71, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 70 68, Justin Rose (Eng) 69 69,

139 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 69 70, Brian Harman 70 69, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 69 70, Kevin Kisner 67 72, Brooks Koepka 70 69,

140 Cameron Davis (Aus) 68 72, Sung Jae Im (Kor) 70 70, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 70 70, Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn) 74 66, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 69 71, Victor Perez (Fra) 71 69, Adam Scott (Aus) 74 66, Jordan Spieth 71 69,

142 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 70 72, Kyoung-Hoon Lee (Kor) 68 74, Min-Woo Lee (Aus) 67 75, Xander Schauffele 69 73,

143 Cameron Champ 71 72

144 Lucas Glover 71 73

148 Wilco Nienaber (Rsa) 76 72

Hero Open leaderboard

British and Irish unless stated, par 72 – Second round suspended due to darkness

129 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 67 62

131 Calum Hill 63 68

132 Justin Walters (Rsa) 68 64, Santiago Tarrio (Esp) 67 65

133 Matthew Jordan 67 66, Robin Sciot-Siegrist (Fra) 65 68

134 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 67 67, Jonathan Caldwell 64 70, David Law 67 67, Si-Hwan Kim (USA) 69 65, Berry Henson (USA) 67 67

135 Toby Tree 67 68

136 Matt Ford 70 66, Richard McEvoy 70 66, Jordan Smith 68 68, Richie Ramsay 67 69, Grant Forrest 68 68, Bryce Easton (Rsa) 67 69,

137 Callum Shinkwin 69 68, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 67 70, Hugo Leon (Chi) 67 70

138 Chris Paisley 66 72, David Drysdale 71 67, Darius van Driel (Ned) 71 67

140 Andy Sullivan 73 67, Matthew Southgate 72 68, Ross Fisher 65 75, Jamie Donaldson 73 67, Oliver Farr 71 69, Kristoffer Reitan (Nor) 67 73, Craig Howie 75 65, Tyler Koivisto (USA) 69 71

141 Scott Hend (Aus) 72 69, Marcus Armitage 72 69, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 73 68, Ricardo Santos (Por) 72 69, Dale Whitnell 73 68, Rhys Enoch 72 69

142 Jorge Campillo (Esp) 72 70, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 71 71, Joachim B Hansen (Den) 74 68, Renato Paratore (Ita) 75 67, Austin Bautista (Aus) 72 70, Ashley Chesters 71 71, Bradley Dredge 75 67, Anton Karlsson (Swe) 72 70, Matthew Baldwin 75 67

143 Alexander Levy (Fra) 69 74, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 74 69, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 76 67, Alejandro Canizares (Esp) 73 70, Lars van Meijel (Ned) 76 67, Kristoffer Broberg (Swe) 77 66, Carlos Pigem (Esp) 74 69, Wil Besseling (Ned) 72 71, Gavin Moynihan 70 73, Marcel Siem (Ger) 70 73, Daniel Young 75 68, Daniel Gavins 71 72

144 Ignacio Elvira (Esp) 71 73, Daniel van Tonder (Rsa) 74 70, Graeme Storm 76 68, Ryan Lumsden 73 71, Oliver Wilson 76 68, Scott Jamieson 71 73, Julian Suri (USA) 75 69, Soeren Kjeldsen (Den) 74 70, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 73 71, Connor Syme 73 71, Sebastian Garcia (Esp) 73 71, David Coupland 76 68, Tom Gandy Isle of Man 78 66, Aaron Zemmer (Ita) 71 73, Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind) 77 67

145 Chris Wood 75 70, Paul Waring 71 74, Laird Shepherd 73 72, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 76 69, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 75 70, Paul Peterson (USA) 77 68

146 Eddie Pepperell 74 72, Haotong Li (Chn) 77 69, Oliver Fisher 76 70, Francesco Laporta (Ita) 71 75, Clement Sordet (Fra) 79 67, Liam Johnston 78 68

147 Paul O’Hara 75 72, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 73 74, Niklas Lemke (Swe) 77 70, Paul Dunne 79 68

148 Robin Williams 75 73, Marc Warren 78 70, Cormac Sharvin 73 75, Suradit Yongcharoenchai (Tha) 75 73, Emilio Cuartero (Esp) 72 76

149 Robert Rock 76 73, Deyen Lawson (Aus) 78 71

150 Graham Fox 74 76, Janne Kaske (Fin) 73 77

151 Stephen Gallacher 80 71, Matthias Schmid (Ger) 80 71, Aaron Cockerill (Can) 80 71, Josh Geary (Nzl) 76 75, Jordan Wrisdale 80 71, Dimitrios Papadatos (Aus) 72 79

152 Ross McGowan 80 72, Jeff Winther (Den) 79 73, David Horsey 81 71, David Howell 77 75, Benjamin Poke (Den) 81 71, Adrien Saddier (Fra) 75 77, Euan Walker 79 73

153 Tom McKibbin 79 74, Pep Angles (Esp) 79 74

154 Romain Wattel (Fra) 78 76

161 Christopher Doak 90 71

162 Jake Bolton 83 79

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