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Lowry and McIlroy regain missing rhythm in Memphis


Lowry: Starting to find consistency. Photo: Getty Images

Lowry: Starting to find consistency. Photo: Getty Images

Getty Images

Lowry: Starting to find consistency. Photo: Getty Images

Shane Lowry showed flashes of his Major-winning form but insisted he must do better as he led the Irish challenge at halfway in the $10.25 million WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis.

As Rory McIlroy bounced back from his disastrous opening 73 with an impressive 66 and Brooks Koepka struggled with his putting and shot 71 to fall four shots behind pacesetter Brendon Todd, Lowry knows that he must improve his iron play if he's to contend for a second World Golf Championship title.

"I drove it well and I struggled with my iron play," Lowry said after mixing three birdies with two bogeys in a 69 for a three-under total. "So I'm not too pleased, but I'm in a decent position, I suppose, going into the weekend.

"If I can go out and shoot a decent number tomorrow and give myself a chance on Sunday, I'll be pretty happy. I've not really been taking advantage how well I've been driving it."

The Clara man was nicely placed in the top 20, eight strokes behind leader Todd (35), who followed his opening 64 with a 65 to lead by two shots from Rickie Fowler on 11-under.

Overnight leader Koepka could not repeat the fireworks of his opening 62, however, and after moving to 10-under through 10 holes, he three-putted from three feet for a double-bogey six at his 11th hole and lost all confidence on the greens inside five feet, limping to a one-over 71.

"I just putted bad," said Koepka, who shared third place with Ben An and Chez Reavie, four shots behind Todd on seven-under. "Felt stress-free other than just missing some short ones."

Graeme McDowell was tied for 21st on two-under after a level-par 70 with McIlroy tied 33rd, 10 shots off the lead on one-under after dropping just one shot in a 66.

On the European Tour, Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin was the only Irishman to make the cut in the Hero Open at the Forest of Arden, carding a five-under 67 to get to seven-under par.

The Co Down man (27) made three early birdies, bogeyed the eighth and 11th but then eagled the 12th for the second day running, slotting home a slick 20-footer.

"I played pretty flawlessly tee to green both days but I was better on greens today," said Sharvin, who was tied for 11th, six shots behind Spain's Sebastian Rodriguez Garcia and England's Sam Horsfield, on seven-under par.

Rodriguez followed his course record 62 with a 69 as Horsfield shot 63 to join him on 13-under par, three strokes clear of Belgium's Thomas Detry.

Gavin Moynihan shot 71 and Paul Dunne a 70 but they missed the two-under par cut by two strokes as Jonathan Caldwell shot 76 to finish three shots further back.

Seamus Power was among the late starters in the modified stableford Barracuda Championship in California, where he was tied third overnight.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Meadow opened with a two-over 74 in the LPGA Drive On Championship at Inverness in Ohio to trail clubhouse leader Danielle Kang by eight shots.

  • Hero Open, Live, Sky Sports Golf, 12.30pm
  • WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational, Live, Sky Sports, from 1.45pm

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