Thursday 22 August 2019

Sharvin and Power keep home fires burning as Harrington and Lowry looks to put day two woes behind them

 

Shane Lowry on the 18th green during yesterday’s Irish Open. Photo: Sportsfile
Shane Lowry on the 18th green during yesterday’s Irish Open. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Paul McGinley loved Sam Torrance's quote and it came true as the clouds masked Lahinch on another rip-roaring golfing day in paradise.

"Out of the shadows come heroes" Torrance said at The Belfry in 2001 when McGinley proved to be the man of the hour. So often in recent years it's fallen to Pádraig Harrington or Shane Lowry to carry the torch for the home fans in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

But as Harrington's Thursday brilliance was snuffed out for one day and tummy trouble laid Shane Lowry low, it was two of the tournament invitees who shone brightest as five Irishmen made the weekend.

Ardglass' Challenge Tour tyro Cormac Sharvin leads the Irish charge on five-under par but it was West Waterford's Seamus Power who emerged late in the day with a sparkling 66 to lie just a shot further back.

The big man from Toornaneena is taking a break from battling for his PGA Tour card to enjoy the warmth of a home welcome in his native Munster.

And it was the crowd who carried him from outside the cut line to the fringes of contention with 18,881 roaring him home as he scorched home in 30 blows to post a score that looked unlikely earlier in the day.

The 32-year-old was three over after four holes after following a bogey at the second and a nasty double bogey six at the Klondyke.

But after a fraught search for a ball that embedded in the dune at the Dell, he saved par there and came to life after that, following a birdie at the seventh with five in six holes from the 10th and another at the 18th.

Buzzing after turning on his best stuff for the fans, Power credited the crowd for keeping his chin up.

"It's great, even when you're three over," he said. "I noticed that today, the difference in having a lot of people around rooting for you to turn it around, it's quite different.

"In the States if you're three or four outside the cutline nobody even knows you're there so it's a nice feeling. It's easier to get the old mental side of it turned around. It was a nice positive and nice to have family and friends out there cheering.

"I doubled the fourth and was in big trouble on five, took me a while to find my ball and got half lucky, got a good up and down. Then that kind of settled me down.

"I got a little boost there, getting away with a three and I was able to build on it - I birdied seven and that set me up there for the back nine."

He was sensational from there and after draining an 18 footer at the 10th, he made two at the 11th, holed eight footers at the 12th and 13th and then banged home a 25 footer at the tough 15th before finishing with a birdie four.

Sharvin (26) could clinch a place in the Open and even his European Tour card after following his opening 66 with a 69 to lie just four shots behind Lombard on five-under.

Dream

But the former Walker Cup star insists he must take it one shot at a time and forget about winning as dream ticket

"It's a cliché, but one shot at a time, that's what I have been doing," he said. "And that's what I plan on doing the rest of the weekend," he said. "I came here to try and compete because I feel like I belong there and hopefully I can show that."

Harrington's short game let him down in squally early conditions as he followed a soft bogey at the first with three putts from just off the green at the third, fifth and seventh before righting the ship on the back nine to shoot 73.

"Look, you go out there, you're tentative, and it really was tough conditions," Harrington said. "Three of my bogeys were three-putts, the other two were chips from the edge of the greens, so I could have negated them with a good short game, and you need a good short game on a bad day, as it was."

Lowry followed his 66 with a 72 after suffering stomach cramps that forced him to vomit on the seventh and again behind the ninth tee. But after dropping four shots in six holes from the sixth, he was proud to birdie the 13th and 15th coming home to finish on two-over.

"I was walking up the sixth and just felt awful," Lowry said. "To finish like that, I am pretty proud of myself to be honest. I was feeling it. I would have hated to miss the cut around here with all the crowds.

"After six I just got a sick tummy and had to go left of the seventh to try and get sick and again at the back of nine. I got some tablets which helped me a little bit. To be honest, and I am not going to make excuses, I just played badly today. But when I started to feel a little bit better, I played OK coming in."

The cut fell at one-under par with Tramore's Robin Dawson finishing with a birdie at the last for a 71 to make it on the mark.

But Paul Dunne got few breaks and shot 69 to miss by one stroke on level par alongside Paul McBride as Graeme McDowell finished five shots outside the mark after a 72.

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