Saturday 16 December 2017

'Dark horse' Shane Lowry has Open class - Paul McGinley

Shane Lowry has his sights set on victory
Shane Lowry has his sights set on victory

William S Callahan

Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is tipping Shane Lowry to win on Tour in the near future.

McGinley, speaking after the second round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane yesterday, praised Lowry's progress, particularly after his tied-ninth finish in the US Open at Chambers Bay three weeks ago.

"Watch out for him next week, (British Open). He's a dark horse there. He'll play well because he likes that golf course (St Andrews)," said McGinley.

Lowry believes that predicting Major wins for himself at this stage is premature, but he was pleased with his second successive 66 at Gullane which keeps him in contention.

His previous wins were the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur and the 2012 Portuguese Masters, and he would love to strike while the driver and irons are hot in Scotland this weekend.

The 132 total left him at eight-over par overall, just three shots adrift of leader Daniel Brooks of England.

Lowry makes no secret that his main goal of the season is to get on the winner's podium.

Whether it will be this weekend or not in a tournament that is packed tight with players in red numbers, Lowry is happy with his game and his form.

"Things have been going well for me of late. Everyone knows this game can be tough at times," he said.

"I'm enjoying playing well and I'm enjoying shooting good scores and I'm enjoying competing. That's the main thing.

"I'm really looking forward to the weekend and getting out there tomorrow late afternoon and hopefully shooting a good score again."

Graeme McDowell also finished with 66 for eight-under, and the man from Portrush was delighted to make a mini-breakthrough after a barren period over the last few months.

"This is what I have been grinding towards the last few months, getting myself on the leaderboard in the weekend. I've missed this. It's fun to be hitting it as solidly as I am.

"I had a quieter day on the greens today, but a stronger finish than yesterday. It all adds up to the same.

"I'm happy with where I'm at but it's still a work in progress," said McDowell.

Michael Hoey shot the best Irish score of the day with his five-under-par 65 moving him 55 places up the leaderboard after a level-par opening round.

Pádraig Harrington headed straight for the practice ground after carding 68 for four-under 136.

There was no joy for Damien McGrane or McGinley, the only other Irish players in the tournament.

McGrane's rounds of 69 and 70 left him missing the cut on one-under.

McGinley, who started horribly on Thursday with treble-bogey, bogey on his first two holes, made his exit on seven-over par (76, 71).

At the top of the leaderboard, Daniel Brooks, who missed 14 consecutive cuts up to last week's Alstom French Open, had the 'wow factor' in full flow as he tacked on a 65 to his first-round 64.


Brooks, 28, won the 2014 Madeira Islands Open in Portugal, an event that was shortened to 36 holes due to bad weather.

"It feels like a long time ago now. I played some terrible golf between now and then, but I'm starting to come back.

"It's hard, you know, to miss that many cuts. It does get you down. It only takes one good week out here and hopefully that's what I'll have," he said.

The pressure is on with 33 players within six shots of Brooks' lead, including Lowry, McDowell and Hoey, title holder Justin Rose and Joost Luiten, who had a best-of the-day 63 yesterday.

Scottish Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 2.0 pm

John Deere Classic

Live, Sky Sports 4, (Red Button) 6.0 pm

US Women's Open

Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.30pm

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