Power best of the Irish as McIlroy struggles and Lowry departs at Quail Hollow

Mark McGowan

Seamus Power (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Seamus Power fired a one-under round of 70 on day two of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow to lead the Irish challenge with Rory McIlroy labouring to a two-over 73 to make the cut on the number.

It was a steady if not spectacular day for the Waterford man who carded 15 pars, two birdies and a solitary bogey to end the day in a tie for 28th at -3.

Seven successive pars started the round, before he’d trade a bogey on eight with a birdie on nine to make the turn at level-par for the day and two-under for the tournament.


A birdie on 11 was the only occasion he’d stray from par on the back nine, failing to take advantage of both par-5s on the inward loop, though he’d make several quality up-and-downs to keep his head above water and he goes into the weekend well positioned just five strokes off the lead.

McIlroy joins him in the field for the third round, but only just. After a solid opening three-under, the four-time major champion was out of sorts all day, often struggling off the tee and frequently failing to take advantage with his wedges on the quality drives he did hit.

The round began in decent fashion, however, and he’d birdie the third to get to -4 for the tournament. Then, three bogeys in succession came at five, six and seven. The first two courtesy of poor approach shots and a sloppy short game, the third courtesy of an out-of-bounds drive at the par-5 for the second consecutive day.

A fourth bogey came at the par-5 10th that was part-attributable to all facets of the game, and this dropped him back to level-par for the tournament with the cut looking likely to move to -1.

A beautifully flighted 3-wood found the dancefloor at the short par-4 14th, and he’d two-putt for birdie to nose back inside the cut line, and he’d par home but not without worry. A pulled wedge from the fairway on 16 was fortunate to stick in the rough at the edge of the hazard, then a slightly pulled tee shot on 18 did the same, requiring a lengthy two-putt – the second jab from over five feet – to make it safely through.

Just seven strokes back, he’s won from the cutline at Quail Hollow before, but he’ll need a considerable improvement right through the bag if he’s to repeat the feat this year.

Earlier in the day, Shane Lowry’s week came to an end when he matched his opening one-over with the same score in round two, failing to take advantage of any of the par-5s and trading three bogeys with two birdies, and though his approach play saw him rank ninth in strokes gained, an uncharacteristically tardy short game along with a cool putter did the damage, and he now turns his focus to Oak Hill and the PGA Championship in a fortnight’s time.

Tyrell Hatton, Nate Lashley and Wyndham Clark enjoy a three-way tie for the lead on -8 after 36 holes. Hatton’s six-under 65, which he finished in style with birdies on the final four holes, was the joint lowest round of the day as he’d overtake fellow countryman Tommy Fleetwood who couldn’t build on his opening 65, shooting a level-par round to end the day in a tie for 10th.

Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Sungjae Im are among the six players tied for fourth at -7, while defending champion Max Homa staged a late rally that saw him make four consecutive birdies to move himself from the cutline and into strong contention at -5.

“I have no idea,” Hatton responded when asked why he plays his best golf on tough setups. “I mean, I guess with my mental approach from the outside looking in, you’d suggest that they wouldn’t be great for me, but I always try my best and yeah, this week and a tough golf course is no different.”

Thomas has fond memories of Quail Hollow, capturing the first of his two PGA Championships here in 2017, so it comes as little surprise to see an upturn in form following a barren 11 months since winning his second major.

“I played very solid,” he said, “I got off to obviously a great start birdieing the first two and let a couple go, making bogeys on holes that I would definitely say are easier holes. It was definitely nice to make that birdie on 15 after hitting that eagle putt past. I just played very solid. I drove the ball really well, hit some very quality irons. I’d really like to wedge the ball closer this weekend, but just very, very solid.”

Despite failing to improve his score, Tommy Fleetwood takes a lot of confidence into the weekend, chalking the level-par round down as just being one of those days when you play well but don’t score particularly well.

“Probably just the score, I think,” he replied when asked what the difference day to day had been. “Played well today, played really well. Felt really comfortable out there, drove it really, really, really good, put the ball in play a lot and gave myself a chance to score, it just didn’t quite happen today. I think overall like you just look at the score and nobody’s really getting away and there’s not that many low scores. Just shows how difficult the test of golf is out there on that golf course. Like I said, I played really well. Feel like if you do that, then your chances are going to come and you can take them.”


Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.