Lowry cracks a smile on the greens as Walker rolls back the years

Ronan MacNamara

Shane Lowry Image by Masters media

Ronan MacNamara

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Shane Lowry will be hoping a 23-foot birdie putt on 18 can be the catalyst for a change in fortunes on the greens after he signed for a two-under 69 at the RBC Heritage.

Lowry is three-under at the halfway point and trails Jimmy Walker by nine shots in Hilton Head.

After another frustrating day, the Offaly man holed out from 23-feet for a closing birdie and simply tuned around to his caddie Darren Reynolds and grinned.

Walker leads by three shots from world number two Scottie Scheffler, Justin Rose and Xander Schauffele after successive rounds of 65.

The 2015 PGA Champion cashed in his top-50 exemption to play the 2022-23 season having ranked inside the top-50 for all time money winners on the PGA Tour.

Knowing this was his last chance saloon to keep his PGA Tour career alive having battled Lyme disease, Walker says it was an easy decision to give the tour another try.

“It was a pretty easy decision honestly. I was 50, and if I didn’t play, I’d never get it again. I just wouldn’t. So when it happened, it was kind of like, wow, this is incredible.

“I immediately shifted gears and talked to my family and said, this is it. This is what we’re going to do. They were totally all about it. All my friends were all about it.

“I remember going into the first tournament, should I go practice? Should I just go out and start winging it? We winged it, and I played pretty damn good that first week. I think I led the field in birdies. It’s like where has this been?

“Then I kind of got back into form how I’d been playing. Yeah, it’s cool to be back. Maybe I have a chance to really do something special.”

The elevated events so far this season have produced a number of feel good stories and Walker is no different although like the others, he will have to hold off a host of top class players with Scheffler, Rose, Schauffle, Fleetwood, Cantlay and Hovland all within two.

Cantlay produced the moment of the day with a hole in one on the par-3 7th – his third on the PGA Tour.

“Yeah, it was just a perfect 6-iron number, a little into the wind, high 190s to the hole. A one-yard cut that just came off perfect.

“The crowd went nuts. There’s a bunch of fans around that 7th green, so it was nice to show off for them a little bit.”

Waterford’s Seamus Power missed the cut on seven-over.

Scoring HERE

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