Shane Lowry bounces back from poor start to keep lead in Abu Dhabi

Irish golfer cards 70 to lead by one shot from Louis Oosthuizen

 Shane Lowry  plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the  Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Shane Lowry plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

 

Ireland’s Shane Lowry recovered from a poor start to remain the man to catch in the €6.15 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Lowry added a second round of 70 to his course record-equalling 62 on day one to post a halfway total of 12 under par, a shot ahead of former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and another South African, Richard Sterne.

Lee Westwood is two shots off the lead after a bogey-free 68, with Ian Poulter, Tom Lewis, Scott Jamieson and Soren Kjeldsen a shot further back on nine under.

Paul Dunne finished with back-to-back birdies in his second round but could only manage a second 73 to finish on two over and miss the halfway cut.

Lowry saw his three-shot overnight lead wiped out as he bogeyed the second and third, but the 31-year-old from Offaly bounced back with birdies at the fifth, seventh, 12th and 15th to remain on course for his first win since the 2015 WGC Bridgestone Invitational.

“I’m really happy with that,” Lowry said. “I knew today was going to be a bit of a weird day after shooting such a low score yesterday. I just tried to go out and play like I played.

“Some of the shots early on were pretty horrendous, so I battled back and hit some really nice shots out there and hit some in close and made some birdies. I was happy with myself.

“I was in Dubai for 12 days before I came up here and pretty much I was practising, training every day. I was there with Paul Dunne and we had a really nice time, we practised together and had some matches. I didn’t actually beat him once, so I wasn’t coming up here too optimistic.

“But I knew I had done everything right to get myself in a good frame of mind to play here yesterday and today. To be going out playing with Louis tomorrow, I’ll enjoy that and hopefully I can go out and make a good show of myself.”

Oosthuizen has finished no worse than seventh in his last three starts, a run which includes a first victory in his national Open in Johannesburg.

“It meant a lot to me,” Oosthuizen said after a 68 containing six birdies and two bogeys.

“It was one that I really wanted and always had scheduling problems to play it.

“It was always up against a big family holiday we have, and last year was the first time that I could actually play it in the last six, seven years, and I was delighted to win.”

Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood, who is seeking a third straight win in the event, birdied the 18th to make the cut on the mark of three under par.

“It was nice to get one in,” Fleetwood said after his 72. “My putting was pretty awful today. The things that I wanted to do better from yesterday, I did, but just a couple of short ones were missed and then I just holed nothing at any makeable range.

“But you can’t stress enough the importance of just making cuts anyway in professional golf. That’s the game. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at. Making cuts is great and I’m very happy that I’ve gotten another two days of golf.”

LEADERBOARD

British and Irish unless stated, par 72

132 Shane Lowry 62 70

133 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 65 68, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 65 68

134 Lee Westwood 66 68

135 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 66 69, Tom Lewis 68 67, Ian Poulter 66 69, Scott Jamieson 69 66

136 Lucas Herbert (Aus) 71 65, Dominic Foos (Ger) 68 68, Grant Forrest 71 65, Gavin Green (Mal) 69 67

137 Adri Arnaus (Esp) 69 68, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 66 71, Joost Luiten (Ned) 69 68, Paul Waring 70 67, Jack Singh Brar 69 68, David Horsey 71 66, Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 65 72, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 72 65, Brooks Koepka (USA) 67 70, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 67 70

138 Matt Wallace 70 68, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 66 72, James Morrison 69 69, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 70 68, Aaron Rai 68 70, Eddie Pepperell 70 68, Jordan Smith 72 66, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 70 68, Bradley Dredge 70 68

139 Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 68 71, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 69 70, Callum Shinkwin 71 68, Branden Grace (Rsa) 70 69, Scott Hend (Aus) 71 68, Justin Walters (Rsa) 70 69, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 68 71, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 68 71, Sam Brazel (Aus) 70 69, Thomas Detry (Bel) 72 67, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 70 69, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 69 70, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 71 68

140 Richie Ramsay 70 70, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 71 69, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 70 70, Joachim B Hansen (Den) 69 71, Dustin Johnson (USA) 69 71, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 71 69, Sam Horsfield 69 71, Andres Romero (Arg) 70 70, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 70 70, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 67 73, Alexander Levy (Fra) 69 71

141 Ross Fisher 69 72, Renato Paratore (Ita) 71 70, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70 71, Tommy Fleetwood 69 72, Robert Macintyre 70 71, David Lipsky (USA) 68 73, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 72 69, Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 71 70, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 65 76, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 69 72, Matthew Southgate 70 71, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 73 68, Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 72 69, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 71 70, Andy Sullivan 69 72, Victor Perez (Fra) 75 66

MISSED CUT

142 Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 70 72, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 73 69, George Coetzee (Rsa) 74 68, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 70 72, Haotong Li (Chn) 71 71, David Drysdale 71 71, Robert Rock 71 71, Marcel Siem (Ger) 73 69, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 71 71, Tyrrell Hatton 72 70, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 75 67, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 72 70

143 Steven Brown 68 75, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 72 71, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 73 70, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 72 71, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 74 69, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 72 71, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 72 71, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 70 73, Yuxin Lin (am) (Chn) 72 71, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 71 72

144 Jose-Maria Olazabal (Esp) 72 72, Romain Wattel (Fra) 70 74, Richard McEvoy 73 71, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 70 74, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 74 70, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 74 70

145 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 76 69, Ashley Chesters 73 72, Chris Paisley 71 74, Lee Slattery 74 71, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 72 73, Peter Hanson (Swe) 73 72, Liam Johnston 73 72, Stephen Gallacher 74 71, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 75 70, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 70 75, Sean Crocker (USA) 74 71, Min Woo Lee (Aus) 72 73

146 Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 72 74, Paul Dunne 73 73, Ashun Wu (Chn) 74 72, Stuart Manley 72 74, Kim Koivu (Fin) 73 73

147 David Law 75 72, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 75 72

148 Andrew Johnston 74 74, SSP Chawrasia (Ind) 75 73, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 75 73, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 77 71, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 70 78, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa) 73 75, Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 74 74, Oliver Fisher 75 73

149 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 75 74, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 78 71

151 Pelle Edberg (Swe) 75 76

152 Kristoffer Broberg (Swe) 77 75

154 Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 81 73

171 Saif Thabet (Are) 84 87

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