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20th May 2023

A tale of two 18s as Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry both in PGA hunt

Patrick McCarry

Shane Lowry

McIlroy was fist-pumping while Lowry was livid.

What a difference the 18th hole could yet make to the US PGA chances of both Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy.

Even though both men finished on level par after shooting in the 60s, for their second rounds, McIlroy was the happier of the two as they headed for the scorer’s cabin.

McIlroy started his day on +1 but had some stray shots around the Oak Hill Country Club course. He dropped down to +3 before a long birdie putt on the ninth hole started the climb back.

There was another birdie on the 14th, for Rory McIlroy, before everything clicked into gear on the 18th.

His drive found the middle of the fairway and a lovely approach from 165 yards back set him up with a 13-footer for birdie. It tracked well and there was a huge response from the galleries when it dropped. He carded a 69 to finish level for the championship.

Shane Lowry goes on birdie blitz

After starting his second round seven shots back of the opening leader, Bryson DeChambeau, Shane Lowry got to within two after a stunning run of birdies.

Lowry dropped as low as +4 when he bogeyed the sixth hole, only to begin his ascent on the eight with a nice birdie. He then picked up five birdies over six holes on his back nine, getting as high as -2.

As the man himself declared, ‘Let’s keep the foot down’

After both he and Rory McIlroy were picked up on ‘hot mics’, on Thursday, Shane Lowry was left frustrated with his finishing holes.

He missed a long par putt on the 17th then was livid with himself for following that up with another bogey on the 18th. It left him on level par, the same as McIlroy, but with momentum stalled. His 67 saw him finish even after two rounds.

There was some consolation in co-leader Scottie Scheffler also bogeying the 18th, dropping back from -6 to -5, meaning Lowry and McIlroy are within touching distance as we head into ‘moving day’. To make matters more intriguing, heavy rains are predicted for stretches of Saturday.


-5 – Scottie Scheffler, Corey Conners, Viktor Hovland
-3 – Justin Suh, Bryson DeChambeau
-2 – Brooks Koepka, Callum Tarren
-1 – Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose, Taylor Pendrith
Level – Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry (plus 6 others)
+1 – Rory McIlroy
+3 – Padraig Harrington
+9 – Seamus Power

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