Shane Lowry is relishing a hopeful Sunday back-nine showdown with Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy after two rounds of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
After Lowry admitted ahead of the Dubai event he was running on the smell of an oily rag, the Irishman had a real spring in his step as evident by a sizzling second round 65 for a share of the lead at 10-under par on the Earth course at Jumeirah Estates.
Lowry sits atop the board alongside American John Catlin, also with a 65 and England’s Sam Horsfield who signed for a 66.
McIlroy went from one in front with a hole to play to one behind after horribly doubling the last when he found a fairway bunker left on the 18th but only managed to move his ball 99-yards leaving him a 211-yard shot to the flag only for his ball to hit the edge of the green but then roll back into the water hazard that splits the entire last hole. He then failed to get up and down in taking a humbling ‘7’
McIlroy’s 70 sees him sharing fourth place at nine-under par with Swede Alexander Bjork who signed for a 67.
Lowry’s round brought back memories of his equally stunning closing day 63 in the 2017 event that saw the Clara golfer finish a shot adrift of eventual champion Jon Rahm.
“It was probably the easiest 65 I have shot,” Lowry said. “I only missed one green at the 10th and that was my own fault and other than that it was pretty solid golf. I am happy with my performance and I am looking forward to the weekend.
“I have been fortunate enough to shoot some good, low scores around tougher golf courses but in these hot and still conditions, there are a lot of birdies out there, though saying that you do have to play well.
“So, a 65 is pretty good out there but like I said I have shot lower than 65, and in big tournaments, but this 65 today is just nice as it’s put me in a good position going into the weekend and hopefully I can contend.
“As well, I feel as though I’ve got a lot more spring in my step than at the start of the week. It’s true I came here from Houston not feeling the best as I was a bit mentally and physically drained after the year but I needed to give myself something to fight for this weekend and I’ve done that today.
“It would be interesting if that fight would come Sunday afternoon with Rory, though you never know so we’ll just have to wait and see (smiling).”
Lowry managed five birdies but capped his round with an eagle ‘3’ at the par-5 14th that he sandwiched between birdies at 13 and 15 to be four-under for the trio of holes.
There were plenty of Irish accents following Lowry including his mother and father and with mum, Bridget attending her first golf tournament since this year’s Irish Open though it’s her first overseas event since attending the 2019 DP Tour Championship.
“It’s great to have both my mum and dad here, and good for mum to get out for a bit of sunshine on her back,” said Lowry.
“And they weren’t alone as there were a lot of Irish supporters out there following us so maybe there’ll be a good few taking the day off work on Sunday and cheer us on.”
- Full scoring HERE