Shane Lowry would fall to 67th in the world and out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play if the leaderboards at the Joburg Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am were frozen on Friday night.
Fortunately for the world No 64, there are still two rounds to go in South Africa and California where Richard Sterne, Ted Potter Jnr and Fredrik Jacbson threatening to overtake the Irish star and move into the top 64 in the world who will qualify for the Tucson event on Sunday night.
With world No 10 Phil Mickelson confirming this week that he will NOT be taking part in the first WGC of the season as it clashes with his children’s spring break, Lowry could qualify as the 63rd of the top 64 available players from the world rankings.
Before the start of the two events, there were 27 players with a mathematical chance of overtaking the 25-year old from Clara.
That number has since been reduced to 25 with Danny Willett and Kristoffer Broberg missing the cut in South Africa.
However, three of that 25 are already on course to get the results they need to make the field at Dove Mountain and if even one of them achieves their goal, Lowry will need another player to drop out of WGC to be sure of his place in the field.
Sterne must win in South Africa to overtake Lowry and he now looks like a serious threat having moved into a share of the halfway lead with Trevor Fisher in Johannesburg.
In California, Ted Potter Jnr is tied for the lead with Brandt Snedeker in an event he must also win to move up from 129th to around 61st in the world
Potter fired a three under 67 at Monterey Peninsula to share top spot on eight under par with FedEx Cup champion Snedeker, who shot an immaculate, four under 68 at Spyglass Hill.
Whatever about Potter’s ability to stick the pace and win, Lowry will be aware of the presence of Jacobson, who is just a shot off the lead on seven under.
Despite playing just a handful of rounds over the last six months because of back trouble, the Swede shot a six under 66 at Pebble Beach to share third place in an event where he must finish solo seventh or better.
Chris Kirk, Retief Goosen, Aaron Baddeley, Kevin Na, Seung-Yul Noh, Brendon de Jonge, Luke Gutherie, Kevin Stadler and Matt Every are lurking ominously within three of the lead in a event that most have to win to make the leap.
Lowry’s rivals - their ranking, what they need to do to make the top 64 and where they are after round 2*
- 69 Geoff Ogilvy Aus AT&T 6th or better (T109)
- 71 Brendon de Jonge Zwe AT&T 6th or better (T17)
- 73 Fredrik Jacobson Swe AT&T 7th or better (T3)
- 77 Kevin Na USA, AT&T 4th or better (T17)
- 81 Kristoffer Broberg Swe Joburg Top 2 (CUT)
- 83 Danny Willett Eng, Joburg Win (CUT)
- 87 Aaron Baddeley Aus, AT& 3rd or better (T17)
- 92 Ryan Palmer USA, AT&T 2nd or better (T109)
- 93 Vijay Singh Fiji, AT&T 2nd or better (T96)
- 94 Richard Sterne Saf, Joburg Win (T1)
- 97 Jimmy Walker USA, AT&T 2nd or better (T30)
- 100 Seung-Yul Noh Kor, AT&T Win (T17)
- 108 Charlie Wi Kor, AT&T Win (T39)
- 112 Chris Kirk USA, AT&T Win (T11)
- 113 Luke Guthrie USA, AT&T 2nd or better (T17)
- 116 Johnson Wagner USA, AT&T Win (T96)
- 118 Tommy Gainey USA, AT&T Win (T30)
- 119 Retief Goosen Saf, AT&T Win (T11)
- 120 Kevin Stadler USA, AT&T Win (T17)
- 121 Casey Wittenberg USA, AT&T Win (T56)
- 122 Josh Teater USA, AT&T Win (T70)
- 126 Matt Every USA AT&T Win (T11)
- 129 Ted Potter Jnr USA, AT&T Win (T1)
- 134 Harris English USA, AT&T Win (T144)
- 146 Charlie Beljan USA, AT&T Win (T70)
- 147 Brian Harman USA, AT&T Win (T56)
- 148 JB Holmes USA, AT&T Win (T39)
* The cut in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will be made after Saturday’s third round.