There were no Irish eyes smiling as both Shane Lowry and Seamus Power bowed out early at the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open.
Lowry’s US Open preparations will have to resume elsewhere after he managed just a single birdie in a one-over par 73 that saw him miss out on the required cut mark by two strokes in Napa
The Clara man went into round two at four-under par but where hot scoring matched the searing temperatures for much of the field, Lowry was unable to get out of first gear, leaving him with plenty to work on before Winged Foot next week.
Power, meanwhile, was never in contention to make the cut but returned an improved one-under par round of 71 to miss out at two-over par.
There were no such fears for Sam Burns who overcame an early double bogey to reach the halfway lead, though Harry Higgs was right behind him after cutting his deficit in half with his last swing.
Burns made nine birdies in a seven-under par 65 to get to 15 under at Silverado Resort, with Higgs two strokes back after he closed with an albatross for a 62, the best round of the day in the season opener.
First-round leader Russell Knox (69), Cameron Percy (68) and D.J. Trahan (65) were 12 under. James Hahn (65) and Doug Ghim (66) were 11 under.
Burns began the day a shot off the lead and started on the back nine. He ran into immediate trouble when his tee shot on the 160-yard, par-3 11th went into the water. After a drop, Burns got onto the green in three and two-putted from 14 feet.
Burns quickly turned that disappointment into motivation. The 24-year-old from Louisiana birdied the next three holes. After making the turn at 3 under for the round, Burns birdied Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 9.
“Woke me up, I guess,” Burns said. “It picked me up, like ‘Hey let’s go.’ Just kind of stuck with it and the golf course opened up for me the rest of the day.”
Burns needed it on a day when Higgs ended his round with a remarkable 2 on the 564-yard, par-5 ninth. Higgs hit 331-yard drive, then holed out from 230 yards with a 4-iron.
“What a wonderful way to end the day and also just really weird,” Higgs said.
“Being the last hole, it’s so final. I hope that I can like calm down. My brother and I were joking, I was looking forward to a nap all day long and I might be too jacked up now to actually fall asleep.”
Full scoring HERE