Shane Lowry catapults into contention with a 64 in Portugal
The former winner at Vilamoura found his best in hope of claiming first win of the year
Shane Lowry of Ireland tees off on the 11th hole during day two of the Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Club in Albufeira, Portugal. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Shane Lowry moved himself right into contention at the Portugal Masters with a superb second round 64 to sit three shots behind the leader Nino Bertasio.
Bertasio leads on 12-under-par, one ahead of Lucas Bjerrergard and Marc Warren.
Lowry – who won this event at Vilamoura in 2012 for his first professional title – is hoping that he can take inspiration from the past to turn around what’s been quite a frustrating season to date.
Going into the weekend at nine under par he’s given himself an excellent chance of doing just that.
“I’m very happy,” Lowry, who has slipped to 86th in the world rankings, told Sky Sports. “I felt quite rusty out there yesterday (Thursday) after four weeks off. I played my way into the round and then hit some shots when I finished and really hit it well so was looking forward to getting out there and did the business.
“I think score-wise 64 is my best round of the year. It’s a good time to start playing well, I’ve got a lot to play for the rest of the year. “This was my first win as a professional so it was very exciting at the time. I can’t believe it was five years ago.”
Reeled off birdies
After opening with a 69 on two under, the Offalyman got to work early in his second round. Starting on the 10th he reeled off three birdies in four holes from the 12th to the 15th.
Another run of three in four from the second to the fifth got him to six under for the day and within touching distance of the lead.
A bogey at the seventh – his 16th – threatened to derail an excellent round but he immediately followed it up with a birdie two at the eighth before firing his approach in to 10 feet and rolling in the putt at the last.
Defending champion Padraig Harrington was a shot behind Lowry back after a second straight 67.
Warren gave his chances of retaining his European Tour card a much-needed boost with a superb second round of 64. Warren carded five birdies and an eagle to finish alongside Bjerregaard.
After missing the cut in more than half his events this season, Warren began the week ranked 173rd in the Race to Dubai, with only the top 100 after the Valderrama Masters next month keeping full playing privileges.
“Conditions were perfect, I drove the ball well and after that it was just about trying to be patient,” Warren said. “The flags were tucked away and the greens were quite firm so I was pleased with that side of my game.”
Bertasio carded six birdies in a second consecutive 65 and has dropped just one shot so far this week, with Bjerregaard also returning a bogey-free 65 on another day of low scoring.