Shane Lowry made nearly 100ft of putts as he moved into contention at the halfway stage of the PGA Championship and he will play with Rory McIlroy in round three tonight.
Lowry gave his chances of a second major title a shot in the arm with a three-under 67 to move to level-par as he enjoyed his best putting performance of the season.
Five birdies in six holes threatened a back nine of 29 at Oak Hill but two late bogeys coupled with a closing birdie from McIlroy set up an all Irish pairing.
“I stood on the first tee in practice and said I like this place,” Lowry told Irish Golf Desk. “I was like, I fancy this place. I was disappointed with yesterday (73), but I knew it was only one day and sort of felt going out this morning, if I can get under par for the tournament with nine holes to play on Sunday, you never know what might happen.
“It is a big day tomorrow. I thrive on weekends like this.”
The Offaly man was just three shots back standing on the seventeenth tee box but two wayward drives cost him dear as he bogeyed his last two holes to slip back to par and five shots shy of leaders Corey Conners, Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland.
“Two bogeys finish is disappointing,” said Lowry. “I got to four over after six holes, but look, we got a bit fortunate with the wind dying down, the bit of rain wasn’t nice, but it made it play a little bit easier.
“I played well around the turn, made some great birdies. Couple of poor tee shots on 17, 18, but that’s what happens on this course. There are holes you need to hit good tee shots, and they are two of them, but yes, I have done well, only five back.”
Lowry ranks 189th in putting on the PGA TOUR this season but he was in inspired form with the flat stick not he back nine, wasting no time over the ball at all. He rolled in back-to-back 16-footers at the 10th and 11th and an 18-footer at the 12th to move into the top 10.
After he found the front left bunker at the drivable 14th, he splashed out to 18 inches, then hit a wedge eight feet left of the hole at the 133-yard 15th for five birdies in six holes.
“When I birdied 15 to get to two under for the tournament, six under form seven to 15, I would have taken your hand off for that this morning,” he said. “I didn’t drive it great, missed more fairways than I would have liked. Other than that, it was pretty good.
“There are certain other parts of my game I am not happy with. I haven’t chipped the ball as well; I haven’t driven the ball as well as I did in practice.
“If I can do that this weekend and match it up with everything else, I will be happy.”
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