Lowry facing anxious overnight Abu Dhabi wait

Bernie McGuire
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Lowry facing anxious overnight Abu Dhabi wait

Shane Lowry (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Shane Lowry is staring into an anxious overnight wait before officially learning if he’s made the cut in his opening event of the new season – the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Lowry birdied his final hole in a second round two-under par 70 for a one-over tally after having to return to the National course very early Friday to complete the closing seven holes of his opening round of a disappointing three-over 75.

This was due to a near three-hour fog delay meaning the likes of Lowry, out in the second half of the draw, could not complete their opening round due to impending darkness in the UAE capital. Lowry’s first round in his first event of the New Year was bookended with birdies and although he found two other birdies, there was also four bogeys and a triple-bogey at the par-four ninth hole sticking out on his scorecard like the proverbial sore thumb.

His 36-hole one-over par tally placed the 2019 Abu Dhabi HSBC winner well down the board in the now 130-player field. Lowry’s second round was off to a poor start when he dropped a shot at the par-5 10th hole but four birdies from the 12th to 18th holes helped get the Irishman back to level par

Lowry then dropped a shot at the first ahead of regaining the stroke with a birdie at the next before playing his closing seven holes in one-over with bogeys at the fifth and eighth holes on his scorecard and a welcomed birdie at the ninth, his last for his round of 70.

Lowry headed to the scorer’s hut in the increasing windy conditions as fellow Irishman Rory McIlroy was about to land his opening tee shot of his second round to just four-feet at the first to move to nine-under par. Another birdie at three saw him move to double digits but he gave that shot back with a bogey on 4 – McIlroy leads Tyrrell Hatton by one at nine-under par.

At one over through 36-holes, Lowry was just one shot outside the projected cut-off mark of level par but will not know until mid-morning Saturday if he will get to play all four rounds. Graeme McDowell will be resting much more hopeful after returning his second consecutive round of 72 to sit at even par. Currently good enough for a share of 62nd, McDowell has traded four birdies and four bogeys to the halfway point at Abu Dhabi Golf Club as he looks to kick his season into gear at the first time of asking in the UAE.

“I hit the ball really well both rounds but just couldn’t get a feel of the greens to make enough putts,” he reflected. “For that to be my first two rounds out in my first event of a new season, I am really happy with that. My general ball-striking was pleasing and overall, I did a lot of good things in what was a difficult 36-holes given the fog delay yesterday and also some very fresh breezes.

“So, it has been tougher than I remember this golf course playing but hopefully level par will make the cut as I would really like to sneak into the weekend just to get four rounds in and continue working on the things I have been working on over the Christmas break and taking into this new season. So, there’s a lot of positives to take away moving forward.”

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