Shane Lowry clings on to Open dreams with birdie, birdie finish after bunker mishap
The gesture made by the Clara native on the ninth green summed up a super round that deserved even better than his 68.
Shane Lowry overcame a double bogey six on the 16th to finish birdie, birdie and give himself an outside chance, heading into The Open Championship weekend.
Lowry will go to bed tonight wondering how he had not carded a 64 or 65. His all-round play deserved it, but his putter was running hot and cold.
Starting the day on level par, Lowry knew he needed to go low so he could challenge the leaders over Saturday and Sunday. His opening eight holes featured one birdie but lots of other close looks. Unfortunately, the putts were either sliding just by or coming up short.
Finally, when the 35-year-old dropped a birdie putt on the ninth hole, he let out a wry smile, looked up at the heavens with arms aloft and was almost asking, 'Where was that all day?!'
Shane Lowry runs into trouble on 16
A further Shane Lowry birdie followed on the 10th and he went to -4 after picking up another shot on the par-five 12th.
With Cameron Smith getting back to the clubhouse for a two-round score of -13, around that time, Lowry would have targeted a -6 or -7 finish. He was coming into form and he was more than capable of gaining another two or three shots over those closing six holes.
Holes 13 to 15 ended with pars then Lowry was disgusted with himself as an approach to the 16th shot forward, bounced on the green and into the back bunker. It took him two goes to get out and he carded an unfortunate double bogey that looked to scuttle his championship hopes.
Not so. Like Rory McIlroy, Lowry went for broke on 17 and had one of the classiest approaches of the day. His 12-foot birdie dropped and so did another on 18. He finished with a -4 round of 68 and is nine back from Open-leading Cameron Smith.
One shot better off than Lowry is 26-year-old Dubliner David Carney, who went around in 67 and is tied 18th, heading into Saturday.
Irish players to miss the cut included Padraig Harrington, Seamus Power and Ronan Mullarney. Harrington got as low as -5, at one stage, but ended up on +1 and missed the cut by a stroke.
"I've always loved coming to Ireland."
Ahead of the 150th Open Championship, Tiger Woods spoke about why he loves playing golf in Ireland and his favourite courses to play.