Back-to-back 65s on Friday and Saturday sees Shane Lowry, in a tie for fifth and three back, ideally placed for a Sunday assault at the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick.
In 99th place after an uncharacteristically sloppy tee-to-green performance on day one, securing a weekend tee time looked the main priority as the six-time DP World Tour winner got his second round underway. Those priorities quickly changed as his putter caught fire on the front nine, and now at -10, three off the lead and with the wind set to pick up on Sunday, the links specialist will fancy his chances at running down good friend, fellow countryman and tournament leader Rory McIlroy.
“Yeah, it was nice,” Lowry said when talking to Sky Sports after his second 65 in as many days. “You know, I knew I needed to go out and shoot a decent score. I knew scoring was gonna be okay today. So to go out there and do it was pretty nice. I’m pretty happy with myself.”
After a heavy six-month schedule in the United States, the proud Irishman had the opportunity to spend a near-fortnight at home prior to travelling to Scotland.
“So I had two weeks in Ireland well, like more like 10 days,” he explained, “but it was nice to get home to everyone. I hadn’t been home in Ireland since Christmas. I was quite busy catching up with everybody. So I didn’t get to do as much practice I would have liked and it showed early on and this week, but I’m playing my way into the week nicely. And you know, looking forward to tomorrow.”
Two birdies on the front nine got things moving nicely, but it wasn’t until he made the turn for home that he really came alive with an eagle-three at the 10th.
“Yeah, it was one of the bad putts I hit today,” Lowry admitted with a cheeky smile. “Actually, thought I’d missed it all the way and for some reason it just broke back in and dropped in the back door so it was nice. I’ve hit plenty of good putts that have missed so it was nice to nice to get one in there and it kind of got me going and I birdied the next as well and I finished quite nicely.”
With the wind strengthening and gusting quite strong at times, the closing stretch was playing particularly tough so bogeys at 15 and 18 were excusable, but he offset them by birdieing the long par-5 16th and the par-3 17th which was the third toughest hole on the course.
“Yeah, it was a perfect five iron,” he described the approach to 17 which nestled about 18 inches away from the hole, “and that’s a little kind of hold five iron and you know it’s actually a tricky enough pin up there and I I thought it was getting myself and Darren a new car for a minute. So it was it was nice. It was nice to birdie 16 and 17 and obviously, it was disappointing the bogey last but I feel like I’m in a nice position going into tomorrow. There’s going to be some strong winds so you know we’ll have to see what it brings and we’ll just give it a go.”
Lowry is one of just 10 players to reach double digits under par through 54 holes on a course that yields plenty of birdie chances but isn’t surprised that scoring hasn’t been lower.
“You know, it’s the weather,” he said, “like the wind is up-and-down and switching a little bit. Doesn’t really know what it wants to do. This golf course, it’s very gettable when the wind is down a little bit, when it’s not too windy. Even today there’s a bit of a breeze blowing but there’s a lot of chances out there if you play well.
“If you start hitting it off-line and missing fairways, obviously it gets a bit tricky. It’s a perfect week before The Open next week, and hopefully I can go out tomorrow and play well again and bring some good stuff into The Open.”