By Bernie McGuire, Yas Links, Abu Dhabi.
Shane Lowry was pleased with his first two days work at Yas Links and not even a bogey at his final hole on Friday could take the gloss off a fine halfway effort at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Lowry sits inside the top-10 and just three shots behind Francesco Molinari and Guido Migliozzi’s lead after adding a two-under 70 to his opening 67 to sit down for evening tea at seven-under par.
Lowry was unable to match the bogey-free golf of the previous day in the UAE but despite a number of missed opportunities with the flat stick on a pure ball-striking day in the desert, he was pleased to be stalking the leaders at the $9m Rolex Series event.
“Yeah, it was a nice way to finish. Well, not a nice way to finish but nice putt to hole on the last,” Lowry said of his 10-foot bogey putt at the last, his fourth bogey overall on Friday.
“I played good today. I missed a couple of chances and even a couple of short par putts. It could have been quite low today. But it was tricky out there. The greens were getting shiny in the afternoon. The wind picked up and the course started to play a little bit firmer, which is pretty good. It’s nice to see it playing that way.
“So I’m only three back going into the weekend and that’s where I want to be. I want to put myself in position come Sunday afternoon to give myself a chance to win this tournament, and I think I’ve done some great work the first two days, and looking forward to the weekend now.”
Lowry was the best of the Irish through two breezy days in Abu Dhabi with Séamus Power still right in the mix despite only managing to add a one-over par 73 to his lightning 66 start.
Power sits just outside the top-20 on five-under par but saw plenty in his play over the first two days to suggest he could make a run up the leaderboard over a weekend packed with promise.
“I just struggled on the greens a bit,” Power reflected. “I’d a couple of three putts on the back and a nasty lip out on 10.
I bogeyed 18 as well. Probably hit my best tee shot of the day there, I striped it right at that bunker and it didn’t move and I caught it. It was difficult then getting out of position.
“But it was a weird round. Frustrating more than disappointing. It could’ve been a good one in tough conditions and it didn’t quite happen for me but there’s a lot of good stuff in there which is encouraging heading into the weekend.
“Everything’s decent. My ball striking has been very good. Really starting to drive it a lot better than I did even towards the end of last year. I had a lot of chances, just struggled to get the ball in the hole.
“Still, I’m hitting it well enough to do something so we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Any time you’re making a cut it’s an achievement. It’s no joke making cuts!”
Also safely through to the weekend was Pádraig Harrington on three-under par, the same score as Tom McKibbin who has two holes left to play to secure his fifth pay cheque on the bounce after darkness halted play.
- Full scoring HERE