Shane Lowry rekindled his winning form with a gutsy 69 to be just five shots off the lead heading to the weekend rounds of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Lowry buried any lingering demons in missing the cut in last week’s defence of his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with four Dubai second day birdies to move to three-under on a toughened Emirates course.
England’s Eddie Pepperell (67) heads the field at eight-under par, a shot clear of defending champ Bryson DeChambeau (67), Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (68) and South African Dean Burmester (68).
DeChambeau ended his round struggling with a head cold and was intent after a short practice putting session to head back to his hotel hoping to arrange a sauna.
Burmester is struggling with a right ankle injury sustained on Wednesday afternoon when the Uber hired car his wife, 4-year old son and himself hired slammed into the back of a stationary Porsche.
Burmester has the ankle strapped and is on painkillers while wife, Melissa suffered whiplash with son, Jordan uninjured.
“It was pretty hectic and quite scary as we were heading back from visiting the Dubai aquarium and there was traffic on the other side of a blind rise in the road and our Uber driver was just too slow reacting and so we went into the back of a Porsche,” he said.
“There were four cars involved. I have a slight ankle problem, but nothing too serious. And my wife received quite bad whiplash, but other than that we’re surviving and just happy and thank God that we’re all okay.”
No such concern for Lowry who pulled-off the shot of his day in landing a 7-iron to three-feet at the par-4 sixth hole, straight after a bogey on five, for the first of four birdies in his round.
Lowry then birdied seven to make the turn in one-under and then moved to two-under at the par-3 11th in holing a 20-footer and he then birdied 17.
“It was a great day’s work and I’m very pleased,” said Lowry.
“I just drove the ball a lot better today and that was the key. It was also a lot easier out there today than compared to yesterday morning’s conditions with the course playing, I would say, at least four shots easier.”
Lowry began the New Year with a superb second-place finish in the Asia Tour’s Hong Kong Open and while he was clearly disappointed in Abu Dhabi to miss the cut, as evident by his quick clubhouse departure, it was not the scenario in Dubai.
The World No.19 signed autographs, happily agreed to ‘selfies’ while one Irish punter managed to coerce Lowry into conveying a ‘Periscope’ 65-year old birthday message to his father back in Dublin.
There was also a half-a-dozen, attractive-looking women who managed to convince Lowry to a group photo!
“I’ve been around long enough to know that you are going to have good weeks and you are going to have bad weeks where you are going to miss the cut,” he said.
“So, it was important for me to go out there today and be patient, and try and shoot the best score I could.
“Looking at the leaderboard I am only five shots off the lead. I am not trying to force it and the key, as I said, is to be patient and I am proud I managed to do that.
“The thing is that the way the course is playing so tough over the outward nine, you can birdie the last three and all of a sudden it is a good day.”
As for the other Irish in the field, Padraig Harrington made the cut on the number at +2 while Graeme McDowell missed out by one at +3.
Full scoring HERE