By Bernie McGuire, Albany, The Bahamas
Shane Lowry continues to run on the smell of an oily rag on day two of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
Lowry struggled in the bright but very windy conditions, managing just four birdies but signing for a card also showing four bogeys, a 5th hole double-bogey and a 6th hole triple-bogey in his round of 77 to be at seven-over and bottom of the leaderboard in the no-cut, 20-player field.
He was two-over for his second round after two holes, six-over through six, seven-over after 11 and then played the closing seven in two-under on the Albany course to at least end on a positive.
The reigning BMW PGA’s champ’s golfing gas gauge has been on empty since teeing-up in last month’s DP World Tour season-ending Tour Championship in Dubai, failing to break 70 on any of the four days in ending in a share of 23rd place.
Lowry’s wife and two young daughters are already back home in Ireland, and he’ll be joining straight after Sunday’s final round.
“I’m already looking forward to enjoying my time back home before heading back out to Florida in the first couple of days in January, and I’ll spend the week there practicing before I go to the Middle East,” he said.
“So, I’ll be spending four weeks back home in Ireland which will be so good.”
First-up in the New Year for Lowry will be pulling on the GB&I colours in the inaugural Hero Cup from 13th to 15th January in Abu Dhabi.
Lowry’s appearance in this week’s Tiger Woods hosted event, and a tournament he so desperately wanted to secure an invitation to, is the latest in any season he’s teed-up since turning pro soon after capturing the 2009 Irish Open.
Twice he represented Ireland in a late November hosting of the World Cup of golf in 2013 and 2018 while he competed in two Hong Kong Opens, in 2009 and 2010 held in early to mid-November.
And unlike many other Irish players, Lowry’s never had to travel to the early new season co-sanctioned events in South Africa as is the scenario this week with Tour rookies Tom McKibbin, John Murphy and Gary Hurley.
“This is a first for me playing this time of year, so events around late November/early December have never been on my schedule,” Lowry added.
“This year, particularly, I’ve struggled and for what reason I don’t know what.
“Look, I am enjoying all the work and practicing that I continue to put into my game but I am just not enjoying the competition, as I would normally do.
“Talking now, the Masters is such a long way away and that is the next big individual tournament on my horizon, so I am already looking forward to that.
“So, a little break after this week I know will do me the world of good.”
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler led the way at 5-under with three to play after three successive birdies as his bid to overtake Rory McIlroy at the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings gathers pace. But a late bogey on 17 saw him fall one shy of halfway leader and defending champion Viktor Hovland.
The Norwegian star had two electric runs on either nine – a birdie, eagle run on 5 and 6 before three consecutive birdies from the 13th.
The world number twelve also dropped one on 17 to sign for a two-under 70 and he leads by one from Scheffler, Cam Young, Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa on five-under-par.
President’s Cup hero Tom Kim is a shot further back on -3 while Justin Thomas is on two-under in 7th. Billy Horschel and Sept Straka – Tiger’s replacement – round off the under par scoring on -1.