Shane Lowry might be running on fumes but he vowed to give it his all as he bids to hold off Rory McIlroy and clinch his first win since The Open in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
As Séamus Power shot 69 to move into contention for his second PGA Tour win at the RSM Classic in Georgia, the Clara man impressed over the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates with a superb, bogey-free 65.
He spectacularly holed a flop shot for an eagle three at the 14th to share the halfway lead with American John Carlin and England’s Sam Horsfield on 10-under par with McIlroy lurking just one stroke behind despite running up a sloppy double-bogey seven at the 18th in a second-round 70.
Race to Dubai leader Collin Morikawa is just one stroke further back after a second successive 68 but Lowry knows McIlroy is the man to beat and he’s determined to give it everything.
“For me personally, it’s two more days left at the end of a long year and a half, I suppose, a long couple years,” said the Offaly star, who admitted at the start of the week that he’s been running on “the smell of an oily rag” since the Ryder Cup.
“I’m looking forward to giving everything and leaving it on the course this weekend, and hopefully, I’m there near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon… I’ve got some pretty stiff competition there at the top of the leaderboard. I am sure Rory is going to give it a good go and hopefully I can finish up there on Sunday.”
Nobody has hit the ball better from tee to green than Lowry, who missed just one green yesterday (the 10th by a foot) and made 107 feet of putts.
The highlight came at the 14th where he was short-sided in the rough, 30 feet left of the hole, but cut up his 58-degree wedge and watched land on the apron and run straight into the cup.
“That was top drawer,” Lowry beamed.
McIlroy hit just five fairways and he made five birdies, including a chip-in at 11th, to lead by a shot until he took seven at the par-five18th by finding the greenside stream with his third.
“I still feel like I played well, and I feel like 70 is sort of the worst I could have shot today, especially with the finish,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fourth with Sweden’s Alexander Bjork. “Hopefully that’s the bad one out of the way.”
On the PGA Tour, Power could break into the world’s top 50 if he clinches his second win over the year in the RSM Classic at Sea Island in Georgia.
A bogey-free, three-under 69 on the Plantation Course left him just three shots behind Talor Gooch on 10-under at halfway as Graeme McDowell shot 76 to miss the cut.
“I didn’t make too many mistakes,” Power said.“I was able to make a couple little par saves when I needed to, but for the most part I was pretty much in control, hitting a lot of greens. It was a good day.”
Meanwhile, Leona Maguire had a bad day on the greens and shot a one-under 71 that left her tied for 19th on six-under in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Florida, eight shots behind halfway leader Celine Boutier of France. “I just didn’t play well enough today and didn’t putt well,” said Maguire after taking 33 putts.
World Tour Championship,
Live, Sky Sports, 7.0am
Live, Sky Sports, 6.0pm