Weather halts Lowry in full-flight

Offaly-man five-under through 14 in Turkey before siren signals end of play

Shane Lowry was five-under through 14 before dangerous weather brought play to a close in the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open

Shane Lowry was five-under through 14 before dangerous weather brought play to a close in the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open

 

Shane Lowry was one of the few players who didn’t want to hear the siren, as a “dangerous” weather front moved into the area during the second round of the Turkish Airlines Open. He was, to use his own words, “flying it.” He didn’t want to stop.

Ultimately though his round, like everyone else’s, was interrupted and halted by the forces of Mother Nature as the winds whipped up, the clatter of thunder sounded and lightning struck. Nobody wanted to be too near to any bolt of electricity, with Ian Poulter – who had manoeuvred his way into a three stroke lead – on the 14th green when a bolt from the dark skies landed. “A close call,” Poulter later remarked.

In the group up ahead, Lowry was poised over a two and a half foot putt when the claxon sounded. He didn’t get to take the putt, instead marking the spot with a white tee peg. It’s the sort of short putt for birdie that will likely provide an extra pep in his step on his return to the 15th green, as the 27-year-old Offalyman seeks to maintain an upwardly mobile move on the leaderboard. He was five-under on this round through 14 holes, up to a share of seventh place on seven-under in the tournament.

As players gathered in and around the clubhouse after the initial suspension in play, Lowry’s facial expression was in marked contrast to the gloomy weather. “Some start, wasn’t it?” remarked Lowry of a second round that produced an eagle on the opening hole and a run of three successive birdies from the third hole to the fifth.

That eagle on the Par 5 first hole encapsulated all that was good about Lowry’s play: a long, straight drive left him with a five-wood approach which he sent in to 15 feet, holing from the fringe. After a nice up-and-down par save on the second, Lowry then reeled off a hat-trick of birdies (six feet on the third, three feet on the fourth and a four-iron to 12 feet on the fifth).

The stretch of holes from the fifth to the ninths is considered by many players to be the toughest run on the course, but Lowry – again – played them solidly and, when the need arose, as it did on the ninth, his short game proved up to the task in saving par.

“I fought back well (in the first round) and just continued on,” said Lowry of taking the momentum from Thursday’s back nine into yesterday’s front nine.

He grabbed a further birdie on the Par 5 13th, where his tee shot hit one of the towering pines positioned in the fairway. “Who put that there?” he quipped. His response was to hit a 3-hybrid approach from 265 yards to 20 feet, two putting for his birdie.

There was to be just the one blip on his card, at the Par 3 14th where he missed the green with his tee shot and, after playing a lovely recovery to four feet, missed the par putt.

“I took too long over it,” he admitted. Still, he bounced back on the 15th where he was facing a two and a half footer to repair the damage when the siren went off.

“I’m sitting pretty,” remarked Lowry of moving into position as one of those chasing down Poulter.

For his part, Poulter – like Lowry, five-under on his round through 14 holes – took a grip on the tournament. His sole bogey came on the tough 490 yards Par 4 12th hole which played into the teeth of a rising wind; otherwise, the Englishman played lovely golf in holing six birdie putts to open up a three stroke lead over Zimbabwe’s Brendan de Jonge.

“I’m playing great, so it’s obviously a great feeling to be on the golf course when you’re playing like that and making birdies is always fun. Right now, I’m pretty happy,” said Poulter, who has defied age-old logic in switching clubs and making an immediate impact in contending in tournaments with his new weapons of choice.

Poulter opened up a three stroke lead over de Jonge, with Australia’s Wade Ormsby and American Brooks Koepka a shot further back. Miguel Angel Jimenez, the first round leader, was one-over on his round through 14 holes and in a share of fifth on eight-under.

After the initial suspension in play in round two, players returned briefly to the range to warm-up for a scheduled restart only to be brought back in again as another severe weather front moved in on the area. Tour officials aim and hope to be able to complete all four rounds with tournament director Miguel Vidaor believing it was “very achievable.”

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