Friday 23 February 2018

Fitness not to blame for horror 80, insists Lowry

Bernie McGuire in Malaga

On the outside, Shane Lowry was sporting a mischievous-looking smile heading to the scorer's hut but, in fact, he was just moments ahead of the stark reality of signing for a hurtful second-round 80 and a 15-over-par tally in the Andalucian Open at Malaga.

Lowry's score is his highest-ever in 161 pro career rounds on the European Tour since brilliantly capturing the 2009 Irish Open at Baltray as an amateur.

In fact, Lowry dropped 10 shots in a seven-hole stretch from the second hole that he played as his 11th to the eighth which was his 17th.

He doubled the par-four third hole when he put a 90-yard lob-wedge into a water hazard right of the green.

Then at the next, the par-four fourth hole, he ran up a seven in finding a greenside bunker, but knifed the ball into a bunker on the opposite side of the green from where he splashed out and three-putted.

But, in all fairness to Lowry, he only returned to competition last week after a three-month competitive absence since fracturing his right wrist over the Christmas break.

Lowry was naturally very short on words after his round, saying simply: "The arm is fine."

Earlier in the week, Lowry attended the Tour's fitness van and, fortunately for him, this is one of the five weeks on Tour this year that a radiologist is in attendance, so Lowry seized the opportunity to have Dr Phil O'Connor run a scan over his arm.

"The body is 100pc fit and the arm has again been given the okay," said Lowry. The Offaly golfer will remain in Spain till Monday afternoon when he boards a charter flight to Morocco for the Hassan II Trophy.

Three players -- Dutchman Maarten Lafeber (65), Dane Jeppe Huldahl (66) and Swedish rookie Rikard Karlberg (67) -- share the lead at eight-under par.


Paul McGinley carded a 71 to be the only Irish player to make the cut right on the one-under-par mark.

However, McGinley also had his troubles, dropping four shots in four holes near the end of his outward nine, including taking a double at the ninth when in the trees, before regrouping to card a 71.

"The course is playing great and I love the way it's set-up because it's firm and bouncy. If you do miss the fairway you are only coming out of inch-high rough to hard greens," he said.

"If we had soft greens here like we had in the Middle East Swing there would be a cut of four to five-under.

"For that reason I am really enjoying the golf course and looking forward to the weekend."

Darren Clarke carded a 72 for a one-over par total -- the same as Damien McGrane, who triple-bogeyed the par three 11th hole after putting his first shot over an out-of-bounds fence before signing for a 71.

Michael Hoey (71) was at two-over-par and Ballyclare-born Gareth Maybin was first out on Day 2 and also first to miss the cut when bogeying his closing four holes in a 77 for a five-over-par score.

Open de Andalucia

Live, Sky Sports 3, 1.0

Irish Independent

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