Zander Lombard plots route to the summit as Irish Open hits halfway

Shane Lowry battles with a stomach upset as Cormac Sharvin leads the home challenge

Zander Lombard has the halfway lead in the Irish Open at Lahinch. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty

Zander Lombard has the halfway lead in the Irish Open at Lahinch. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty

 

A grey, misty morning beckoned in a day of body surfing that wouldn’t have been out of place on the wild Atlantic waters over the fence.

And while the leading home challengers incurred downward trajectories - as Pádraig Harrington slithered down the leaderboard, and Shane Lowry’s dodgy stomach required him to hide behind bushes on the seventh to get sick during an unsettled round - there was, at the end of the day, some equilibrium with South African Zander Lombard assuming the outright lead at the halfway stage of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Once again, large galleries were drawn to the Co Clare links, with an official attendance of 18,441 for the second round, and those charged with doing the shot-making were hindered in their execution as a nuisance of a westerly cross wind proved a constant presence through the day.

Ultimately, Lambard - a player who has missed the cut in his last eight tour appearances - contrived to negotiate a route to the top of the leaderboard. A second round 67 for nine-under-par 131 gave the Springbok a one stroke lead over England’s fit-again Eddie Pepperell, with a group of three players - Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, Spaniard Jorge Campillo and England’s Lee Westwood - sharing third place a further stroke back.

Cormac Sharvin, who has taken to evening hurling puckabouts in the garden of his rented house, assumed the mantle of leading Irish player at the midpoint. The Co Down player, making the most of a sponsor’s invitation, shot a 69 for 135 to be in tied-12th heading into the weekend, where he was joined by four other Irish players: Séamus Power and Harrington (four under), Lowry (two under) and Robin Dawson (one under).

Shane Lowry battled back to card a 72 on Friday. Photograph:Jan Kruger/Getty
Shane Lowry battled back to card a 72 on Friday. Photograph:Jan Kruger/Getty

The cut, when it fell, came on one-under-par 139 and saw 66 players survive into the weekend. Unfortunately for both Paul Dunne and Paul McBride, the pair - who’d endured an anxious wait all afternoon and into the evening - narrowly missed out, by just one stroke.

Lombard, tied-sixth at Ballyliffin last year, has again used Irish links terrain to get the most of his game. “It’s just good feelings about links golf, I just love the challenge,” said Lombard , who added that “three months of hard work” had contrived to get him out of his recent run of poor form. “I saw a bit of light at the end of the tunnel the last three events, missing (the cut) by one. Hopefully I can keep it through the weekend.”

He need only look over his shoulder, or cast a look at the leaderboard, to be aware that there is quality in abundance among those in pursuit. Pepperell is a proven tour winner, even if averse to practising too much. As he put it, “I’m the opposite to Ben Hogan. The more balls I hit, the worse I get.” Tongue-in-cheek perhaps, but he is a serious player who has shown a liking for a links he described as “a proper course.”

With 29 players within five strokes of Lombard’s lead, and the winds set to shift again to ask a different challenge in the third round, there really is all to play for. And Harrington, for one, and Lowry, for another, will be hoping for better days.

Harrington, a master of links, admitted to feeling “stressful” at the examination asked during the second round. “In those conditions, you’re just working so hard. . . I wouldn’t really give myself a 10 out of 10 for anything. I worked hard on my attitude. It didn’t come easy so that was a 10 out of 10. I stuck to my guns and didn’t get down on myself. But I’ve had easier days on the golf course.”

He added: “I’m under pressure now over the weekend. That’s the problem. If you’d opened up with three 63s you can shoot 73 on Sunday and win.”

But as Harrington knows more than anyone, there are many different scenarios from which to win; especially on a links.

Lowry, too, is also only too aware of the vagaries of links golf, although his problems on Saturday had a lot to do with his physical well-being. Indeed, there were a couple of times when the 32-year-old Offalyman was forced to take refuge in the undergrowth to force himself to get sick, as he suffered from stomach cramps that required the dispensation of medication in mid-round to help ease his plight.

“I got some tablets which helped me a little bit. To be honest, and I am not going to make excuses, I just played badly today. But when I started to feel a little bit better, I played ok coming in. I ground it out well and I was pretty happy with that. I am disappointed with my day but if that’s my bad day out of the way - I am seven behind - you never know,” said Lowry.

Eddie Pepperell is hot on the heels of leader Zander Lombard at Lahinch. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho
Eddie Pepperell is hot on the heels of leader Zander Lombard at Lahinch. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

For Sharvin, this is very much new terrain and potentially career-changing as he heads into the weekend very much in the mix.

Lowry played a practice round with him on Tuesday and was so impressed that he texted Brian Martin - Lowry’s regular caddie and Sharvin’s uncle - who is at home this week on parental leave. “He’s a lovely player,” said Lowry of Sharvin. “Hopefully he gets his card this year. Hoopefully he has a good weekend and we’ll have another Irishman on tour.”

As for Sharvin himself, he is very much his own man. When asked who he most admired, he replied: “I guess I am just Cormac Sharvin but I love the way Frankie Molinari goes about his work.” Not a bad example to follow, at all at all.

Latest second round scores in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 70):

131 Zander Lombard (Rsa) 64 67

132 Eddie Pepperell 65 67

133 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 66 67, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 69 64, Lee Westwood 66 67

134 Hyo-won Park (Kor) 65 69, Andy Sullivan 68 66, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 65 69, Niklas Lemke (Swe) 68 66, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 67 67, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 65 69

135 Cormac Sharvin 66 69, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 65 70, Paul Waring 67 68, Oliver Wilson 66 69, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 67 68, Robert Macintyre 66 69, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 68 67, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 69 66, Russell Knox 67 68

136 Adri Arnaus (Spa) 68 68, Matt Wallace 68 68, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 66 70, Oliver Fisher 67 69, Seamus Power 70 66, Haotong Li (Chn) 68 68, Tom Lewis 68 68, Tommy Fleetwood 67 69, Padraig Harrington 63 73, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 68 68

137 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 67 70, Robert Rock 67 70, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 68 69, Grant Forrest 71 66, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 69 68, George Coetzee (Rsa) 70 67, Chris Paisley 65 72

138 Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 67 71, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 71 67, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 68 70, Liam Johnston 68 70, Max Schmitt (Ger) 70 68, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 70 68, Andres Romero (Arg) 68 70, Shane Lowry 66 72, Jon Rahm (Spa) 67 71, Victor Perez (Fra) 70 68, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 71 67, Thomas Detry (Bel) 70 68, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 68 70, Gavin Green (Mal) 66 72, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 70 68

139 Robin Dawson 68 71, Anton Karlsson (Swe) 67 72, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 72 67, Clement Sordet (Fra) 71 68, Jack Singh Brar 70 69, Richard McEvoy 71 68, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 69 70, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 67 72, Lee Slattery 65 74, Jeff Winther (Den) 72 67, Ian Poulter 66 73, Sam Brazel (Aus) 68 71, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 72 67, Bradley Dredge 72 67

Cut mark -1

140 Justin Harding (Rsa) 72 68, David Howell 69 71, Paul McBride 70 70, Aaron Rai 71 69, Paul Dunne 71 69, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 70 70, Louis De Jager (Rsa) 72 68, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 69 71

141 Ben Evans 71 70, David Law 68 73, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 72 69, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 68 73, David Horsey 69 72, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 69 72, Matthew Southgate 69 72, Romain Langasque (Fra) 69 72, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 73 68, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 71 70, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 72 69, Sam Horsfield 72 69, Jake McLeod (Aus) 73 68, Eduardo Ger Lao Riva (Spa) 72 69, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 68 73, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 70 71

142 Ricardo Gouveia (Por) 71 71, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 70 72, Danny Willett 68 74, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 69 73, Brian Casey (x) 70 72, Kristoffer Reitan (Nor) 74 68, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 72 70, James Morrison 71 71, Alvaro Quiros (Spa) 71 71, Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 70 72, David Drysdale 70 72, Romain Wattel (Fra) 71 71, Stephen Gallacher 71 71, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 67 75, Tyrrell Hatton 73 69, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 70 72, Justin Walters (Rsa) 70 72

143 Sang-hyun Park (Kor) 68 75, Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 72 71, S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) 72 71, Richie Ramsay 69 74, Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 69 74, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 72 71, Alexander Levy (Fra) 73 70, Conor O’Rourke 71 72, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 73 70

144 Steven Brown 68 76, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 71 73, Graeme McDowell 72 72, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 73 71, Renato Paratore (Ita) 70 74, Julian Suri (USA) 72 72, Scott Hend (Aus) 73 71, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 70 74

145 Ross Fisher 71 74, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 74 71, Jordan Smith 73 72, Ashley Chesters 75 70, Stuart Manley 69 76, Nacho Elvira (Spa) 73 72, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 73 72, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 70 75

146 Kurt Kitayama (USA) 73 73, Chris Wood 70 76, Joost Luiten (Ned) 70 76, Ashun Wu (Chn) 73 73, Guido Migliozzi (Spa) 68 78, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa) 71 75, Kim Koivu (Fin) 72 74, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 76 70, Gavin Moynihan 72 74, Jamie Donaldson 71 75, Sean Crocker (USA) 74 72, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 71 75

147 Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 78 69, Pelle Edberg (Swe) 75 72, Darren Clarke 71 76, Andrew Johnson (USA) 71 76

149 Michael Mcgeady 71 78

150 Ryan Fox (Nzl) 73 77, Scott Jamieson 73 77

151 Kalle Samooja (Fin) 75 76, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 71 80

152 Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 73 79, David Lipsky (USA) 75 77, Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 74 78

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.