Shane Lowry was justly rewarded after he pulled off an absolutely brilliant par save down the last hole to be assurred all playing all four rounds of the Players Championship at Ponte Vedre in Florida.
Lowry was thrilled to battle his way back from Thursday’s horror opening round 75 that included a pair of double-bogeys and turned that around in signing for a day two four-under par 68, for a one-under par tally in hot and very humid conditions on the TPC Sawgrass Stadium course.
The Clara golfer, along with the likes of Tiger Woods also at one-under par, then faced a long anxious afternoon wait as the cut-off mark moved to two-under before being confirmed at one-under very late in the day.
Also squeezing in on the mark was World No. 2 Justin Thomas (70) and World No. 4 Jordan Spieth (68).
Sadly, Rory McIlroy saw his chances of also playing the weekend rounds sink to the bottom of the hazard guarding the 17th green where he took a double-bogey ‘5’ on route to a round of 74 for a one-over par total.
And McIlroy has company on his weekend off as Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson were also cut from the $11m event.
Up front, it was 32-year old Webb Simpson brilliantly storming his way to a record 36-hole five-shot lead in posting a Sawgrass course record-equalling nine-under par 63.
However, it was a round of a hopeful ’59’ spoiled when Simpson, who had birdied six holes in succession from the 11th, took a double-bogey ‘5’ at the 17th when his tee shot hit the woodwork at the front of the green soared high into the air before landing at the back of the green, only to then roll off into the hazard.
In making the cut, Lowry has boosted his chances of breaking back into the top-60 on the World rankings within the next month so as to qualify for the up-coming U.S. Open.
Lowry was off to a flyer on day two when he birdied his opening two holes and though he bogeyed the fourth, he bounced back with a birdie at seven. He then holed a 15-footer of the par-3 13th to go to three-under for his round but back to level before missing the green well left at the par-5 16th, only to land a 43-yard chip shot to 12-feet for a fifth birdie of his day.
Lowry made amends at the famed island green par-3 17th in walking off with a par after making a splash a day earlier.
Then at his final hole, after taking a penalty drop after finding water off the tee, Lowry played the shot of his round landing his third from 167-yards out to only nine inches for a tap-in par. Little wonder Lowry headed to the scorer’s hut with a big smile on his face.
“I played alright and I felt I putted well and just grounded it out”, he said.
“It was great to make a par at my last after hitting it the water, so that was nice. So, I am very happy as I played poorly yesterday and didn’t think I could make the cut today and I did, so really pleased.”