Shane Lowry storms into US PGA contention with stunning 64

McIlroy finds some form on the greens but Harrington and Dunne miss the cut

Ireland’s  Shane Lowry of Ireland plays his shot from the second tee during the continuation of the weather delayed second round of the US  PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Ireland’s Shane Lowry of Ireland plays his shot from the second tee during the continuation of the weather delayed second round of the US PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

 

Shane Lowry is like the magician who has pulled a rabbit out of the hat these past few days in the 100th US PGA Championship.

In a difficult season which has yet to feature even a top-10 finish, the 31-year-old Offalyman propelled into contention in this final Major of the year with a bogey-free 64 in the weather-affected second round to move to seven-under-par 133, three shots behind leader Gary Woodland.

Lowry may have twisted and turned at the first of his 4.45am alarm calls. “I had to turn over. I set about four or five alarms. I think I got up about five past five,” he grinned. He got the job done in stunning fashion once he got to the Bellerive Country Club course which had taken on board almost one and a half inches of rain in Friday’s thunderstorm which had forced a suspension in play.

Resuming his round on the second hole, Lowry rolled in a 25-footer for birdie on the third, almost holed-out with his approach to the seventh and finished with a lovely approach to four feet for birdie on the ninth. He also rolled up his sleeves for a good par save on the difficult Par-3 sixth, where he missed the green left and pitched to seven feet and sank the putt for par. “Things like that are huge,” he said.

Lowry – whose best finish in a Major came when he finished runner-up to Dustin Johnson in the 2016 US Open – has turned his form around in recent weeks with his putter a key to that change.

“Look, I am delighted to be where I am. I’m looking forward to the afternoon and tomorrow. If I keep playing the way I am, you never know where that might leave me tomorrow afternoon,” said Lowry, who moved into a share of fifth place alongside Dustin Johnson, Charl Schwartzel and Thomas Pieters.

“I played nice. I didn’t think we were going to get called yesterday, and I was going along lovely so I was probably a little bit disappointed. But I got a good night’s rest and went out there this morning and did the business.”

The 64 constituted Lowry’s lowest round in a Major, bettering the 65 he shot in the final round of the British Open in 2014, where he finished ninth.

Rory McIlroy finally found his touch with the putter too. Having parred his opening seven holes when halted by the weather front on Friday, the Northern Irishman resumed play with an immediate birdie on the eighth hole and added further birdies at the 14th and 17th to sign for a 67 for 137, which left him in tied-24th.

A double-bogey six on the fifth (his 14th) proved ruinous for Pádraig Harrington, however, who shot a 70 for 141 which saw him miss the cut by one stroke. Paul Dunne also missed the cut, the Greystones player struggling with his driving. He slumped to a second round 73 for 146.

Tiger Woods ensured his presence for the final two rounds, firing a 66 for a four-under-par 136 midway total.

Defending champion Justin Thomas also made the most of the benign conditions and softened course, shooting a 65 for 134 to lie in tied-ninth.

“I’m in a good position. I’m in a lot better position than I was when I came out here this morning, which is great,” said Thomas. “I accomplished what I needed to do. There’s a lot of golf left on a very gettable golf course. But at the same time, it can show its teeth if you’re not driving it well. If I continue to drive it well and get that putter rolling like I did this morning, then I feel confident.

SECOND ROUND SCOREBOARD

(USA unless stated, par 70):

130 Gary Woodland 64 66

131 Kevin Kisner 67 64

132 Brooks Koepka 69 63, Rickie Fowler 65 67

133 Dustin Johnson 67 66, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 70 63, Shane Lowry (Irl) 69 64, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 67 66

134 Justin Thomas 69 65, Pat Perez 67 67, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 66 68

135 Jason Day (Aus) 67 68, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 67, Julian Suri 69 66, Jason Kokrak 68 67, Adam Scott (Aus) 70 65, Jon Rahm (Esp) 68 67, Patrick Cantlay 68 67

136 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 69 67, Tiger Woods 70 66, Zach Johnson 66 70, Justin Rose (Eng) 67 69, Stewart Cink 67 69, Webb Simpson 68 68

137 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 68 69, Andrew Putnam 68 69, Matt Wallace (Eng) 71 66, Ross Fisher (Eng) 68 69, Xander Schauffele 70 67, Keegan Bradley 69 68, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 70 67, Yuta Ikeda (Jpn) 68 69, Ian Poulter (Eng) 67 70, JJ Spaun 69 68, Billy Horschel 68 69, Jordan Spieth 71 66

138 Chris Kirk 68 70, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 73 65, Andrew Landry 73 65, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 68 70, Branden Grace (Rsa) 68 70, Daniel Berger 73 65, Ollie Schniederjans 67 71, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 70 68, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 71 67, Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 72 66, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 70 68, Sungjae Imn (Kor) 71 67

139 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 71 68, Chris Stroud 69 70, Austin Cook 67 72, Chez Reavie 71 68, Kevin Na 70 69, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 68 71, Russell Henley 74 65, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 69 70, Marc Leishman (Aus) 68 71, Jimmy Walker 69 70, Brandt Snedeker 72 67, Brice Garnett 71 68, Russell Knox (Sco) 71 68, Ryan Moore 69 70

140 Nick Watney 75 65, Scott Brown 72 68, Brian Gay 67 73, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 70 70, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 71 69, Charles Howell III 74 66, Vijay Singh (Fij) 71 69, Tony Finau 74 66, Seung-su Han 74 66, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 73 67, Ben Kern 71 69, Brian Harman 72 68, Kevin Chappell 69 71, Cameron Smith (Aus) 74 66, Jim Furyk 69 71, Ted Potter, Jr. 74 66, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 70 70, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 73 67

MISSED CUT

141 Luke List 71 70, Kyle Stanley 68 73, Davis Love III 75 66, Matt Kuchar 71 70, Brendan Steele 73 68, J.B. Holmes 73 68, Shugo Imahira (Jpn) 72 69, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 70 71, Patton Kizzire 72 69, Bryson DeChambeau 71 70, Troy Merritt 71 70, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 71 70

142 Justin Harding (Rsa) 72 70, Alex Noren (Swe) 71 71, Kevin Streelman 72 70, Shaun Micheel 73 69, Peter Uihlein 73 69, Whee Kim (Kor) 75 67, Bill Haas 72 70, Ryan Armour 69 73, Jordan Smith (Eng) 74 68, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 73 69, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 72 70

143 Sean McCarty 74 69, Charley Hoffman 72 71, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 68 75, Adam Hadwin (Can) 71 72, John Daly 73 70, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 69 74, James Hahn 73 70, Rich Beem 74 69, Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 70 73, Patrick Reed 72 71, Alexander Levy (Fra) 76 67

144 Chris Wood (Eng) 70 74, Jason Dufner 72 72, Aaron Wise 76 68, Beau Hossler 73 71, Danny Willett (Eng) 73 71, Paul Broadhurst (Eng) 74 70, Phil Mickelson 73 71, Andy Sullivan (Eng) 75 69, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 75 69, Ryuko Tokimatsu (Jpn) 73 71

145 Alexander Bjork (Swe) 72 73, Zachary J Johnson 76 69, Kelly Kraft 71 74, Craig Hocknull (Aus) 72 73

146 Ryan Vermeer 73 73, Paul Dunne (Irl) 73 73, Scott Piercy 74 72, Jamie Lovemark 71 75

147 Matt Dobyns 76 71, Yong-eun Yang (Kor) 73 74, Jason Schmuhl 74 73, Daniel Balin 72 75

148 Shawn Warren 77 71, Rich Berberian Jr. 74 74, Omar Uresti 75 73, Paul Casey (Eng) 75 73, Bubba Watson 70 78, Chesson Hadley 75 73, Matthew Borchert 74 74

149 Craig Bowden 75 74, Si Woo Kim (Kor) 72 77

150 Marty Jertson 76 74, Michael Kim 73 77, David Muttitt 81 69, Michael Block 75 75, Brian Smock 79 71

151 Jaysen Hansen 76 75, Johan Kok (Rsa) 78 73

152 Jorge Campillo (Esp) 78 74

153 Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 76 77

155 Bob Sowards 80 75

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