Tuesday 20 August 2019

Dunne and Lowry still in the hunt in Dubai

Paul Dunne will represent Europe
Paul Dunne will represent Europe

William S Callahan

Paul Dunne and Shane Lowry were in contrasting moods after two-under-par 70s kept them in the hunt for the $8 million (€6.7m) jackpot in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

On a day when Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood revived his hopes of claiming the money title with a second-round 65, Dunne was frustrated on the greens all day before a closing eagle left him just three shots behind leader and defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick on seven-under par at halfway.

"It was a really frustrating day," the Greystones star told Meridian Media after his putting deserted him and he compiled a round featuring two eagle threes, just two birdies and four bogeys.

"I thought I played as good tee to green as I have all year. My swing felt great, I was flighting the ball really nicely and just couldn't get any putts - I mean none. I am hoping it is one of those freak days. I can't even count the number of chances I missed inside 10 feet, I reckon there were at least eight or nine. I really could have shot a low one."

The Wicklow man went to the turn in two-under 34, as he mixed two birdies and two bogeys with a chip-in eagle three at the seventh.

Two back-nine bogeys left him frustrated playing the 18th where he hit a 260-yard three-wood into the heart of the green and made up and made the putt to apply a gloss finish to an otherwise lacklustre day.

"I am only three shots back, so if I continue to hit the ball the way I am hitting it and putt like I putted the first day, I will have a great chance," Dunne said.

"I feel like if I just play normally, I am going to shoot in the mid to high 60s every day. Hopefully, my score is a little bit better than everyone else's."

Running on fumes as he plays his eighth event in nine weeks, Lowry had to rely on his magical short game to save pars early on the back nine before three birdies in his last four holes allowed him to sign for a 70 he felt was "one of the best two-unders I've ever shot".

"I played quite poorly today," a relieved Lowry said at the finish. "I don't know how I shot two-under. It was one of those days where I felt quite tired.

"I made bad decisions, hit lazy shots and I think I was really tired out there and need to go back and have a rest and get out there tomorrow."

The Offaly man is just five shots behind Fitzpatrick, who shot a 67 to lead by one stroke on 10-under-par from 63-shooter Tyrrell Hatton.

Race to Dubai challenger Justin Rose also carded a 70 to lie just two shots off the lead in a tie for fourth with American Julian Suri and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

But Fleetwood is now back in the mix and after shooting 73 to Rose's 66 on day one, he responded impressively with a 65 that leaves him just two shots behind his opponent and back at the top of the projected Race to Dubai Rankings.

"I don't know if Justin will be bothered or not," said Fleetwood, who is just four shots off the lead on six-under par. "He's so strong mentally, and he knows what he's doing, He's been in a lot of situations like this."

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