Lowry concerned Houston could be harmful to Masters prep

Bernie McGuire
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Lowry concerned Houston could be harmful to Masters prep

Shane Lowry (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry revealed his concerns that this week’s Houston Open torture test could spoil his preparations for next week’s much-anticipated Masters. The Open Champion had plenty of Masters-bound companions in Houston with 37 players in the field set to board a special charter flight on Sunday night direct to Augusta, GA.

“Personally, going into Augusta, the course is probably a little bit too tough,” said Lowry after posting a pair of 69s to head to the weekend rounds well in contention in a share of 14th at two-under par.

“It’s too much of a grind. You don’t want to be taking too much out of yourself this week, building up for a big week. Then again, it is what it is. Apart from the grass, you have a lot of long irons, and you need to be very precise where you are hitting it. In a way, it is not the worst preparation.”

Lowry is contesting a fourth Houston Open though on a redesigned and beefed-up Memorial Park course that is back on the PGA Tour schedule for a first time since 1963. The Open Champion’s second round included five birdies and four birdies, including finishing birdie, bogey, birdie and par. The pick of Lowry’s birdies was probably his 120-yard tee shot at the par-3 15th that he landed to just two feet.

Fellow Masters bound Graeme McDowell looks to have ended a miserable run of five missed PGA Tour cuts in adding a second day 73 to his opening 69 for a two-over total while Padraig Harrington’s strong run of form continues after the Dubliner carded three birdies and just a single bogey in a round of 68 that saw him rise to share of 21st at one-under par.

At the top, American Sam Burns, 24, posted scores of 68 and 65 to enjoy a two-shot second round lead at seven-under par. Aussie Jason Day (68) is in second place at five-under par alongside Carlos Ortiz while missing the weekend rounds were four of seven Masters winners in the Texas field – Jordan Spieth (73 & 71), Sergio Garcia (74 & 71), Phil Mickelson (76 & 73) and Danny Willett who had withdrawn following a first round 77 citing a wrist injury.

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