Shane Lowry gets right back in the Open mix with brilliant 65

Defending champion takes inspiration from playing partner and leader Louis Oosthuizen

 Shane Lowry  and his caddie Bo Martin on the 18th green after the second round of the 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s. Photograph:  Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Shane Lowry and his caddie Bo Martin on the 18th green after the second round of the 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

 

Far from being hopelessly cast adrift, Shane Lowry steered his own course to remain very much on the fringes of contention in his quest to retain the Claret Jug.

While midway leader Louis Oosthuizen at one point seemed set to race away from the field, those in pursuit will believe that he has not moved beyond their reach: the smooth-swinging Springbok reached the midpoint of this 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in a record low 36-holes total of 11-under-par 129, adding a 65 to his opening 64, to be two shots clear of American Collin Morikawa.

But, on a day when the links was bathed in sunshine and with the wind slipping to a breeze and then barely nothing at all, players took full advantage in a birdie fest that was ably joined by Lowry – one of three Irish players to survive the cut – who, in his defence of the title, shot a second round 65 for 136, to be seven shots behind in tied-17th position.

Pádraig Harrington, too, again displayed his fighting prowess; so, too, Rory McIlroy. Harrington carded a 68 and McIlroy a second successive 70 to each survive on level-par 140. But Darren Clarke, teary eyed as he holed out on the 18th where 10 years ago he savoured the greatest triumph of his career, missed the cut.

For Lowry, so hard on himself after his first round, which led to further work on the range with his coach Neil Manchip and some soul searching, the body language was once more at ease with the challenge in a second round that saw him use the driver only four times and utilise a hotter putter to good effect with an impressive footage of putts to move stubbornly upwards.

A visual sign of his more upbeat mood came on the course, as his fist bumps with caddie Bo Martin were conducted with regularity and accompanying smiles from the two who soldiered together so brilliantly in claiming the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush in 2019.

The Irishman’s defence may have been put on hold for two years but, in the southeastern corner of England, Lowry – encouraged by the galleries and feeding off the exploits of playing partners Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm as much as they fed off him – clicked into a higher gear and with the prospect of again shifting further over the weekend in his bid to play catch-up.

Lowry went out on the cut line and assuredly moved upward in a second round where he played intelligently and strategically. He hit 12 of 14 fairways and found 14 of 18 greens in regulation. He seemed at home in his own skin and the result was a 65 that conceivably could have been even a stroke or two better so good was his game.

Darren Clarke salutes the crowd as he walks up to the 18th green. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Darren Clarke salutes the crowd as he walks up to the 18th green. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

After his first round, Lowry had spent time on the range. In the morning prior to the second round, his “chat” with Manchip was revisited. “I felt I was a bit hard on myself, I didn’t play as bad as I felt I did. So I just trusted myself to go out there and shoot a good score,” he said.

With a grin, he recalled hitting his opening tee shot of the second round about “40 yards right” in one of only four uses of the driver. “I thought I had it fixed,” he quipped, although the primary club of choice for much of the round proved to be his 3-iron on terrain that grew firmer as the day progressed.

Playing in a three-ball with Oosthuizen and US Open champion Rahm, Lowry admitted: “You kind of bounce off each other, it does help whenever one in the group is playing well. And when you’re playing with someone who is leading the tournament it does spur you on to try and catch them. I was out there trying to get as many shots as I could back on Louis towards the end because I knew he was going to be the leader going into the weekend.”

Harrington moved from outside the cut line to inside it, with a fine 68 for 140 that moved him alongside McIlroy in tied-53rd position. “There is a low one in me. But I’d need at least two of them, two big ones,” said Harrington in emphasising that simply making the cut hasn’t enabled him to reach his goal.

McIlroy birdied the 18th for a second straight day for successive 70s and, although 11 shots behind the leader, has focused on his own game. “[I’m] not even [looking] at the leaderboard. I just try to play a good solid round of golf tomorrow . . . you go out and you play golf and you try to play as best you can, and that’s it,” he said.

Leaderboard

British and Irish unless stated, par 70, (a) denotes amateur
129
Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 64 65

131 Collin Morikawa (USA) 67 64

132 Jordan Spieth (USA) 65 67

133 Dustin Johnson (USA) 68 65, Scottie Scheffler (USA) 67 66, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 66 67

134 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 70 64, Justin Harding (Rsa) 67 67, Andy Sullivan 67 67, Daniel van Tonder (Rsa) 68 66, Marcel Siem (Ger) 67 67

135 Paul Casey 68 67, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 66 69, Brooks Koepka (USA) 69 66, Jon Rahm (Esp) 71 64, Cameron Tringale (USA) 69 66

136 Corey Conners (Can) 68 68, Tony Finau (USA) 70 66, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 68 68, Brian Harman (USA) 65 71, Shane Lowry 71 65, Cameron Smith (Aus) 69 67, Brandt Snedeker (USA) 68 68, Danny Willett 67 69

137 Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 67 70, Daniel Berger (USA) 70 67, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 70 67, Joel Dahmen (USA) 69 68, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 68 69, Justin Rose 67 70

138 Tommy Fleetwood 67 71, Ian Poulter 72 66, Chez Reavie (USA) 72 66, Webb Simpson (USA) 66 72, Jonathan Thomson 71 67, Johannes Veerman (USA) 70 68, Matt Wallace 70 68, Lee Westwood 71 67, Jack Senior 67 71

139 Max Homa (USA) 70 69, Billy Horschel (USA) 70 69, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 68 71, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 70 69, Chan Kim (USA) 70 69, Kevin Kisner (USA) 70 69, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 69 70, Aaron Rai 70 69, (a) Matthias Schmid (Ger) 74 65, Adam Scott (Aus) 73 66, Kevin Streelman (USA) 70 69, Justin Thomas (USA) 72 67, Lanto Griffin (USA) 69 70

140 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69 71, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 68 72, Richard Bland 70 70, Sam Burns (USA) 71 69, Harris English (USA) 75 65, Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 69, Pádraig Harrington 72 68, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 66 74, Jason Kokrak (USA) 70 70, Rory McIlroy 70 70, Xander Schauffele (USA) 69 71, Sam Horsfield 70 70

141 Marcus Armitage 69 72, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 71 70, Rickie Fowler (USA) 69 72, Talor Gooch (USA) 69 72, Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn) 72 69, (a) Yuxin Lin (Chn) 69 72, Robert MacIntyre 72 69, Richard Mansell 72 69, J. C. Ritchie (Rsa) 71 70, Antoine Rozner (Fra) 70 71, Poom Saksansin (Tha) 73 68, Brendan Steele (USA) 73 68, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 71 70

Missed cut

142 Keegan Bradley (USA) 71 71, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 72 70, Tyrrell Hatton 72 70, Russell Henley (USA) 70 72, Takumi Kanaya (Jpn) 70 72, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 72 70, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 74 68, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 69 73, Chris Kirk (USA) 68 74, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 71 71, Marc Leishman (Aus) 75 67, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 69 73, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 74, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 73 69, Ryutaro Nagano (Jpn) 70 72, Ryan Palmer (USA) 72 70, Victor Perez (Fra) 70 72, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 71 71, Harold Varner III (USA) 70 72, Jimmy Walker (USA) 70 72

143 Rafael Cabrera Bello (Esp) 70 73, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 74 69, Stewart Cink (USA) 66 77, Branden Grace (Rsa) 72 71, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 70 73, Daniel Hillier (Nzl) 72 71, Charley Hoffman (USA) 72 71, Matt Jones (Aus) 72 71, Troy Merritt (USA) 73 70, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 72 71, Patrick Reed (USA) 72 71, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 71 72, (a) Laird Shepherd 74 69, Brendon Todd (USA) 72 71, Erik van Rooyen (Rsa) 69 74, Gary Woodland (USA) 73 70, Min-Woo Lee (Aus) 74 69

144 John Catlin (USA) 75 69, Ricardo Celia (Col) 72 72, Ernie Els (Rsa) 72 72, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 71 73, Adam Hadwin (Can) 75 69, Richard T. Lee (Can) 75 69, Haotong Li (Chn) 75 69, Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 75 69, Keith Mitchell (USA) 68 76, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 73 71

145 Jason Day (Aus) 75 70, Lucas Glover (USA) 75 70, Brad Kennedy (Aus) 71 74, Alexander Noren (Swe) 74 71, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 75 70

146 Darren Clarke 71 75, (a) Cole Hammer (USA) 75 71, Matt Kuchar (USA) 74 72, (a) Joe Long 73 73, Thomas Detry (Bel) 72 74, Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn) 74 72

147 Jaco Ahlers (Rsa) 68 79, (a) Sam Bairstow 75 72, (a) Christoffer Bring (Den) 72 75, Romain Langasque (Fra) 74 73, Joost Luiten (Ned) 76 71, Chengtsung Pan (Tai) 71 76

148 Garrick Higgo (Rsa) 73 75, Nicholas Poppleton 75 73, Paul Waring 72 76

149 (a) Abel Gallegos (Arg) 73 76, Ben Hutchinson 77 72, Aaron Pike (Aus) 74 75, Marcel Schneider (Ger) 73 76, Adam Long (USA) 72 77

150 Sam Forgan 73 77, Connor Worsdall 77 73

152 Phil Mickelson (USA) 80 72

154 Daniel Croft 76 78

156 Yuki Inamori (Jpn) 75 81

157 Deyen Lawson (Aus) 80 77

Saturday tee-times

9:20 Yuxin Lin (Chn)
9:30 Talor Gooch (USA), Bryson DeChambeau (USA)
9:40 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Richard Mansell
9:50 J C Ritchie (Rsa), Marcus Armitage

10:00 Poom Saksansin (Tha), Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn)
10:10 Antoine Rozner (Fra), Rickie Fowler (USA)
10:20 Brendan Steele (USA), Robert MacIntyre
10:30 Harris English (USA), Sam Burns (USA)
10:40 Jason Kokrak (USA), Abraham Ancer (Mex)
10:50 Sam Horsfield , Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa)

11:05 Rory McIlroy , Richard Bland
11:15 Xander Schauffele (USA), Benjamin Hebert (Fra)
11:25 Pádraig Harrington , Matthew Fitzpatrick
11:35 Kevin Streelman (USA), Lanto Griffin (USA)
11:45 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Viktor Hovland (Nor)
11:55 Chan Kim (USA), Max Homa (USA)

12:05 Justin Thomas (USA), Adam Scott (Aus)
12:15 Kevin Kisner (USA), Billy Horschel (USA)
12:25 Matthias Schmid (Ger), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)
12:35 Chez Reavie (USA), Aaron Rai
12:50 Lee Westwood , Jonathan Thomson
13:00 Jack Senior , Ian Poulter

13:10 Webb Simpson (USA), Tommy Fleetwood
13:20 Matt Wallace , Johannes Veerman (USA)
13:30 Sergio Garcia (Esp), Byeong-Hun An (Kor)
13:40 Justin Rose , Joel Dahmen (USA)
13:50 Dean Burmester (Rsa), Daniel Berger (USA)

14:00 Brandt Snedeker (USA), Shane Lowry
14:10 Danny Willett , Brian Harman (USA)
14:20 Cameron Smith (Aus), Corey Conners (Can)
14:35 Ryan Fox (Nzl), Tony Finau (USA)
14:45 Cameron Tringale (USA), Jon Rahm (Esp)
14:55 Brooks Koepka (USA), Mackenzie Hughes (Can)

15:05 Justin Harding (Rsa), Paul Casey
15:15 Marcel Siem (Ger), Andy Sullivan
15:25 Daniel van Tonder (Rsa), Emiliano Grillo (Arg)
15:35 Scottie Scheffler (USA), Dustin Johnson (USA)
15:45 Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Jordan Spieth (USA)
15:55 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Collin Morikawa (USA)

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.