Shane Lowry ‘absolutely thrilled with 72’ as desert wind whips up scoring in Abu Dhabi

Rory McIlroy birdies last hole but will have to wait until Saturday to see if he’s made cut

 Rory McIlroy  tees off on the third hole without his cap  during day two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links Golf Course. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy tees off on the third hole without his cap during day two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links Golf Course. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

 

You can trick up a golf course with slick greens, thick rough and water hazards but, as competitors in the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links could testify, the real challenge is presented by Mother Nature in the form of strong winds.

“I’m glad that’s over,” remarked Lee Westwood on trooping off the 18th green.

“Never so glad to get off a golf course,” replied Rory McIlroy, who’d managed to birdie the closing hole – for a 75 for a midway total of 147, three over par – which likely enabled him to survive the cut on the mark. Fading light meant that the actual cut wasn’t determined, with a number of players still to complete their rounds.

McIlroy showed his fighting qualities, recovering from four bogeys in five holes on his homeward stretch, to muscle out a birdie on the par-five 18th to make it into the weekend but with a lot of ground – some 10 shots – to make up on leader Scott Jamieson who showed his own fortitude in signing for a 74 for 137, seven under par.

“I knew I needed a birdie at the last,” said McIlroy, adding: “I feel like I’m hitting it well. I hit it well on the range, it’s all in there. Hopefully I get to play the weekend and we’ll have a couple of calm days. I’d just like another two competitive days of play and see where I’m at.”

Jamieson, seeking what would be his second career win on the DP World Tour, his one and only success coming in the 2012 Nelson Mandela tournament a decade ago, claimed a one-stroke midway lead over Viktor Hovland and Ian Poulter while James Morrison (through 14 holes before darkness fell) was also one shot back.

Shane Lowry, too, got right into the mix: the 34-year-old Offalyman, playing in his first tournament of the year, is a noted wind player and, with gusts of up to 40 miles an hour providing a challenge for one and all, he managed to sign for a 72 for 139.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry tees off during his second round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links Golf Course. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Ireland’s Shane Lowry tees off during his second round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links Golf Course. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

“I didn’t really have my A-game in the wind that I normally would. I hit some loose shots that generally would be better but it was just so tough out there, so tough, every part of it,” said Lowry, who married three birdies with three bogeys in his level-par round that left him two shots adrift of Jamieson and very much at the business end of affairs in his bid to claim a second career Abu Dhabi title.

“Putting was probably the hardest thing. I’m absolutely thrilled with 72 to be honest . . . I knew going out [the wind] would be up, so I knew to go out and just play my game and do my thing.

“Because it’s in the wind, I think about it a lot less and I just hit the shots and I just hit the shots I see. That’s what makes me so good in the wind I think. I just kind of play with a lot of feel . . . I was decent today and hopefully it’s not going to be as windy the weekend. But it will still be blustery, we’ll see.”

Pádraig Harrington also demonstrated his ability to cope with the strong winds in signing for a 71 for 144 that had him in tied-30th and comfortably inside the cut but Jonathan Caldwell struggled to a 78 for 155 to miss out.

Leaderboard

British and Irish unless stated, par 72 – Play suspended for the day due to darkness with 38 players still to complete their second runds

137 Scott Jamieson 63 74

138 Viktor Hovland (Nor) 64 74, Ian Poulter 66 72

139 Shane Lowry 67 72, Takumi Kanaya (Jpn) 66 73, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 65 74, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 68 71

140 Rafael Cabrera (Esp) 69 71, Victor Perez (Fra) 66 74, Erik van Rooyen (Rsa) 69 71, Jeff Winther (Den) 71 69

141 Andrea Pavan (Ita) 69 72

142 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 72, Rasmus Hoejgaard (Den) 70 72, Dale Whitnell 68 74

143 Tyrrell Hatton 66 77, Kristoffer Broberg (Swe) 69 74, Daniel Gavins 69 74, Ignacio Elvira (Esp) 69 74, Jordan Smith 71 72, Matthew Southgate 70 73

144 Tommy Fleetwood 68 76, Pádraig Harrington 73 71, David Law 69 75

145 Lee Westwood 71 74, Thorbjoern Olesen (Den) 71 74, David Horsey 70 75, Romain Langasque (Fra) 72 73, Santiago Tarrio (Esp) 70 75, Ewen Ferguson 71 74

146 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 69 77, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 74 72, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 71 75, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 74 72, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 68 78, Daniel van Tonder (Rsa) 71 75

147 Collin Morikawa (USA) 73 74, Rory McIlroy 72 75, Min-Woo Lee (Aus) 71 76, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 72 75, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 71 76, Adria Arnaus (Esp) 71 76, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 75 72, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 71 76, Richie Ramsay 71 76, Connor Syme 70 77, Daan Huizing (Ned) 71 76

148 Nicolai Hoejgaard (Den) 69 79, Richard Bland 71 77, Haotong Li (Chn) 70 78, Francesco Laporta (Ita) 69 79, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 72 76, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 71 77, George Coetzee (Rsa) 72 76, Ross Fisher 71 77

149 Robert MacIntyre 69 80, Garrick Higgo (Rsa) 73 76, Stephen Gallacher 73 76, Marcus Armitage 70 79, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 74 75, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 72 77, Wil Besseling (Ned) 72 77, Alejandro Canizares (Esp) 74 75, Lukas Nemecz (Aut) 71 78, Espen Kofstad (Nor) 72 77

150 Paul Waring 76 74, Andy Sullivan 74 76, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 72 78, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 73 77, Maverick Antcliff (Aus) 73 77, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 74 76, Frederic Lacroix (Fra) 70 80, Chase Hanna (USA) 72 78

151 Alexander Levy (Fra) 69 82, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 73 78, Joost Luiten (Ned) 79 72, Marc Warren 74 77

152 Danny Willett 72 80, Colin Montgomerie 75 77, Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (Esp) 75 77

153 Grant Forrest 73 80, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 75 78, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 76 77, Oliver Bekker (Rsa) 75 78

154 Antoine Rozner (Fra) 75 79, Sean Crocker (USA) 74 80, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 77 77

155 Jonathan Caldwell 77 78, Matthias Schmid (Ger) 75 80

156 Renato Paratore (Ita) 75 81

157 Sebastian Soederberg (Swe) 76 81, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 78 79

159 Ahmed Skaik (UAE) 75 84

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