Friday 30 September 2016

Storms halt Day's charge as 'shattered' Lowry strikes back

Published 15/08/2015 | 02:30

Shane Lowry of Ireland struggles in Wisconsin heat after nightmare first day at the PGA Championships
Shane Lowry of Ireland struggles in Wisconsin heat after nightmare first day at the PGA Championships

Jason Day's charge to the head of the leaderboard at the US PGA Championship was stalled after a storm warning halted play at 5.28pm local time at Whistling Straits.

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A hat-trick of birdies on holes 11 through 13 eased Day to five-under par for the day and nine-under for the tournament with four to play.

Fellow Aussie Matt Jones, playing in his third PGA Championship, was also on nine under after 12 holes. Play was suspended and resumes at 8.0am (1.0pm Irish time) today.

Before the storms came, Shane Lowry continued his learning curve. At three-over par, the Offaly man is unlikely to make the cut, currently projected at two-over par, but he did show his battling qualities on day two.

Lowry was not too downbeat after he summoned a creditable 69 from a tired mind and a tired body in 80 degrees heat.

His score could have been better yesterday but the main damage was done on Thursday with a six-over-par 78.

It was a far cry from Sunday when a sensational 66 propelled the man from Clara, Co Offaly into world renown and victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, not to mention a whopping pay cheque of over €1.45m.

Truth to tell, Lowry's level of disappointment was tempered considerably by his heroics last week at Firestone.

His ambitions and goals are high. This year's targets were to get into the World's top 50, and win a pro event for the third time, and for only the second time as a professional.

He surpassed those aims, moving from 48 in the world to 19, and now has secured all kinds of benefits, including a three-year passport to play on the PGA Tour.

The difference between his previous wins in the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur and the 2012 Portugal Masters on the European Tour was that Lowry did not play the following week.

He was never going to miss a PGA Championship, but the challenge was immense, given the toll taken by the battle to win the Bridgestone.

"My thought all week was to just rest myself, but I was so tired all week.

"Even out there today, I went into a toilet after the fourth hole to get out of the heat. I felt shattered. I felt like I was getting dehydrated. I couldn't drink enough water. I was eating as much food as I could take in.

"I didn't think it was going to be as hard as it was, but you learn from stuff like that," said Lowry.

Lowry started on the 10th and got into a nice rhythm with three birdies on his first six holes.

He stuttered on the 18th, his ninth, where he took a bogey five, and a few errors on the inward half cost him dearly.

Lowry will take six weeks off after this event, because he has a hectic end-of-season schedule.

Injured

Pádraig Harrington admitted that his injured right knee - he fears a torn cartilage or torn ligament - affected his sleep on Thursday night, but made no excuses after signing for 71, and a three-over-par 147 total.

"I struggled to sleep. It didn't affect my golf at all. Not a bit. I holed a few good putts early on, but in the last 11 holes, I missed nine chances," said Harrington.

Darren Clarke shot 81 to make his exit.

"It's my birthday today so I might go out tonight and get hammered," he said smiling through the disappointment.

Graeme McDowell's 76 and five-over for the tournament ended his involvement at Whistling Straits.

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