McDowell and Lowry can’t keep pace with Danish dynamite

Irish pair pick up three shots in Melbourne but Kjeldsen and Oleson card stunning 60

Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen roared to the top of the leaderboard in Malbourne after shooting 60 in the fourballs. Photograph: Afp/William West

Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen roared to the top of the leaderboard in Malbourne after shooting 60 in the fourballs. Photograph: Afp/William West

 

Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell picked up three shots on the second day of the World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, but the Friday fourballs belonged to Denmark.

After shooting an opening 72 in Thursday’s foursomes the Irish pair got off got a poor start in the second round, mustering just a bogey between them.

They birdied the fifth and eighth before back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11, but couldn’t kick on down the straight and now lie in a share of 16th position.

That leaves them nin strokes behind Denmark, who opened up a three-shot lead after Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen fired a brilliant 60.

The duo had carded a level-par 72 in Thursday’s foursomes to trail Spain by three shots overnight but two eagles and eight birdies gave them a 12 under par total and a comfortable cushion over Ashun Wu and Li Haotong of China heading into the weekend.

The action will return to foursomes on Saturday before finishing with another round of fourballs on the final day as Denmark look to lift the trophy for the first time in Melbourne.

China fired a 65 on Friday to get to nine under, a shot clear of Spanish pair Rafa Cabrera Bello and John Rahm, who signed for a second-round 67.

Kjeldsen got the ball rolling for the Danes when he holed from the fairway on the third for an eagle and two birdies followed before Olesen chipped in on the eighth to pick up two more shots.

A run of five birdies then started the back nine before a Kjeldsen gain on the last completed a brilliant performance.

“I feel like we both were playing well,” Olesen told a press conference. “We kept the ball in play all the time and Soren got it started by holing that second shot. It was amazing.

“Then I chipped in for eagle as well. We did very well today.”

Kjeldsen added: “I think game-wise we’re very different. Thorbjorn’s very flashy, he hits it very far from the tee and overall he has just got an amazing game.

“I’m sort of like a train, I arrive on time but without too much of the flashy stuff.”

English duo Chris Wood Andy Sullivan were at seven under after a 66 alongside France, Italy and the United States.

Wales’ Bradley Dredge and Stuart Manley were at four under, three ahead of Scots Russell Knox and Duncan Stewart.

Leaderboard (after Friday fourballs):

1. Denmark S. Kjeldsen / T. Olesen (-12)

2. China WU Ashun / LI Haotong (-9)

3. Spain R. Cabrera Bello / J. Rahm (-8)

T4. Italy F. Molinari/ M.Manassero, England C.Wood/A.Sullivan, USA R.Fowler/ J.Walker, France V.Dubuisson/ R. Langasque (-7)

T8. Japan H.Matsuyama/ R.Ishikawa, Sweden A.Noren/D.Lingmerth (-6)

T10. New Zealand D. Lee/R.Fox, Netherlands J.Luiten/D. van Driel, Chinese Taipei C.Pan/Chan S, Thailand T.Jaidee/K. Aphibarnrat, Wales B. Dredge/S. Manley, India S. Chawrasia/ S.Chikkarangappa (-4)

T16. Austria B.Wiesberger/M.Wiegele, Ireland S.Lowry/G.McDowell (-3)

T18. South Africa J. Van Zyl.G. Coetzee, Australia A.Scott/M. Leishman, Portugal R. Gouveia/J. Lima, Colombia J.Vegas/J.Vegas, Belgium T.Pieters/N.Colsaerts (-2)

T23. Scotland R.Knox/D.Stewart, Canada D.Hearn/ A.Hadwin, South Korea B.An/K.Kim (-1)

26. Philippines M.Tabuena/A.Que (E)

T27. Malaysia D.Chia/N.Fung, Germany A.Cejka/S.Jaeger (+1)

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