Lowry stays the course

Shane Lowry plays to the sixth in the second round of the BMW PGA at Wentworth. Picture: Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ieRory McIlroy - cut.  Luke Donald - cut. Graeme McDowell  - cut. It might be bad news for the European Tour’s wintry BMW PGA Championship that three of the four members of the world’s top 10 to make the trip to the stockbroker belt suffered a Black Friday, but it’s good news for Shane Lowry.

Not for the first time, the smiling Clara man embraced horrible weather conditions of wind and rain, not to mention a sub-zero chill factor, and hauled himself around the West Course at Wentworth in 71 and go into the weekend just three shots behind leader Francesco Molinari on three under par.

After the false dawn that followed his end of season win in Portugal, the big Offaly man is finally on a roll on a track he loves. And in the nick of time too with US Open qualifying on Monday, an invitation to next week’s Memorial Tournament on the mantelpiece and a big summer of golf ahead.

As for McIlroy, it was a case of deja vu all over again at European Tour HQ for the world No 2. With the golf overshadowed by talk of racisim thanks to Sergio Garcia’s long-running feud with Tiger Woods, McIlroy spent the first three days dodging questions about his imminent legal depature from Horizon Sports Management.

In reality the talk should be about the departure of his form.

After the brilliance of the last five months of 2012, his swing is plainly out of the groove and his putting on the slow, bumpy surfaces at Wentworth was a grim as the weather though not as bad as it was on Thursday.

Twelve months on from the club-throwing, missed cut that led to talk of a mini slump he so joyously rubbed into his critics’ faces later on, he’s heading into June with his game still stuck in first gear once again.

At least he had the weather to blame this year.

Rory McIlroy walks in the rain on the seventh. Picture: Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ie“It just was a grind,” said McIlroy, made one par, three birdies and five bogeys on he front nine alone. he needed a two under back nine to make the cut but took seven at the 17th and then birdied the last for a 75 to miss the cut by three.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to some golf where I am not playing in four layers. It’s the same for everyone out there and that’s not really an excuse. I just didn’t play well.

“When I play in these conditions, I sort of try and do too much with the ball sometimes instead of trying to imagine that I’m playing it like it’s flat calm. And if I try and do too much with it, I start to hit some bad shots and those bad shots obviously cost me.”

A weekend range session might not be advisable given the cold and he sounded tempted to head to Paris for the French Open tennis or to Monte Carlo for he F1 Grand Prix, he sounded more likely to jet back to the US to prepare for Muirfield Village and the run up to the US Open at Merion.

Playing partner and (still) stablemate Graeme McDowell also shot 74-75 to make his exit. His last four starts now read - missed cut, win, missed cut, win, missed cut.

With a sequence like that it’s little wonder that he’s looking forward to getting himself ready for the US Open, where he will be amongst the favourites to win his second major title.

Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter, another man who has struggled to perform at Wentworth, also checked out early after a second round 76. Penny for the thoughts of Pádraig Harrington who decided to stay at home.

Wentworth is long and tough at the best of times, which makes the performances of veterans such as Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Jose Maria Olazabal even more noteworthy.

McGinley went bogey free for 30 holes, double bogeyed the 13th to go back to level par and saw the the cut was going to be two over.

“I made the fatal mistake of playing to that,” he admitted, beaming, on Sky Sports in his new role as an “ambassador” and on-air commentator.

He birdied the 14th but then played bogeyed three of the last four holes for a 75 to make the cut on the number.

Things went far better for world No 300 Clarke, who has played just four tournaments this year and missed the Masters because of a hamstring tear.

Damien McGrane hit just five fairways and seven greens but still made the cut with a shot to spare. Picture Stuart Adams www.golftourimages.comOften at his best when his expectations are low and the weather is at its most foul - see the 2011 Open Championship for details - the 44-year old birdied three of the four short holes for a 70 to shoot level par.

Damien McGrane, in urgent need of a decent pay day as he sits 107th in the Race to Dubai, has made eight birdies and nine bogeys in carding rounds of 72 and 73 to share 39th on one over.

As for Peter Lawrie, he made the cut on the number with a birdie at the 17th crucial to his second round 72.

Gareth Maybin (76-75, seven over), David Higgisn (74-79, nine over) Michael Hoey (73-81, 10 over) and Barrie Trainor (75-82, 13 over) all departed the scene.

Lowry remains. And he sounds up for the fight.

“It was such a tough day out there today but I seem to enjoy those days, especially round here,” he said. “I got up and down from everywhere.

“I got unlucky on the eighth hole, found a bad divot there and came up short in the water and made double. Other than that when I made a mistake I just took my bogey and went on to the next hole.

“I finished three under for my last five holes to shoot one under for the day, which was really nice. I’ve definitely played in worse weather than this but not on such a tough golf course.  

“It’s propably the toughest day I have had on the golf course for a while. Every shot out there is so tough. Even the two par fives to finish with. On 16 I had 113 flg and I was standing over my shot and it is really difficult shot from 113 yards.

“I am just delighted with one under and I’m right there now for the weekend and looking forward to it.”

The secret to his good play, apart from his superb short game, is his attitude.

“I love competing and before going out, I said to my coach in the players’ lounge this morning, ‘definitely a third of the field won’t want to be out there today’.

“There’s no reason why you can’t go out there and enjoy it, shoot a good score and give yourself a chance at the weekend.”

Second round scores (Cut at 146, +2 )

138 F Molinari (Ita) 70 68,

139 G Coetzee (RSA) 69 70, M Foster (Eng) 70 69, M Warren (Sco) 69 70, A Cañizares (Esp) 69 70,

140 E Pepperell (Eng) 71 69, M Manassero (Ita) 69 71,

141 L Westwood (Eng) 70 71, N Fasth (Swe) 70 71, S Khan (Eng) 69 72, E Els (RSA) 72 69, G Havret (Fra) 70 71, S Lowry (Irl) 70 71,

142 E Molinari (Ita) 71 71, R Bland (Eng) 71 71, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 71, N Colsaerts (Bel) 72 70, J Levermore (Eng) 72 70, P Price (Wal) 73 69, L Slattery (Eng) 71 71,

143 T Björn (Den) 69 74, S Garcia (Esp) 72 71, W Liang (Chn) 75 68, M Ilonen (Fin) 67 76, J Kingston (RSA) 66 77, A Quiros (Esp) 70 73, G Fdez-Castaño (Esp) 68 75,

144 B Grace (RSA) 71 73, A Hansen (Den) 70 74, M Kaymer (Ger) 70 74, D Drysdale (Sco) 71 73, B Wiesberger (Aut) 73 71, P Larrazábal (Esp) 71 73, G Bourdy (Fra) 71 73, J Van Zyl (RSA) 75 69, A Tadini (Ita) 73 71, G Storm (Eng) 73 71, D Clarke (Nir) 74 70,

145 R Fisher (Eng) 72 73, D Willett (Eng) 73 72, J Kruger (RSA) 71 74, R Santos (Por) 73 72, G Mulroy (RSA) 74 71, J Sandelin (Swe) 76 69, A Noren (Swe) 74 71, G Lockerbie (Eng) 71 74, R Sterne (RSA) 71 74, T Jaidee (Tha) 74 71, C Doak (Sco) 74 71, O Fisher (Eng) 70 75, S Drummond (Sco) 70 75, M Jiménez (Esp) 76 69, P Uihlein (USA) 72 73, T Fleetwood (Eng) 71 74, D McGrane (Irl) 72 73,

146 F Zanotti (Par) 71 75, P McGinley (Irl) 71 75, R Coles (Eng) 75 71, G Hutcheon (Sco) 72 74, M Siem (Ger) 75 71, B Rumford (Aus) 75 71, C Montgomerie (Sco) 71 75, A Dodt (Aus) 75 71, P Lawrie (Irl) 74 72, J Quesne (Fra) 71 75, S Kjeldsen (Den) 74 72, J Rose (Eng) 72 74, J Donaldson (Wal) 71 75, J Olazábal (Esp) 75 71, R Ramsay (Sco) 71 75, T Levet (Fra) 71 75

CUT

147 P Lawrie (Sco) 75 72, D Lynn (Eng) 74 73, M Carlsson (Swe) 71 76, K Horne (RSA) 72 75, C Lee (Sco) 74 73, S Henry (Sco) 68 79, M Baldwin (Eng) 74 73, D Fichardt (RSA) 72 75, A Kaleka (Fra) 71 76, E Grillo (Arg) 72 75, D Howell (Eng) 73 74, J Luiten (Ned) 72 75, P Whiteford (Sco) 72 75,

148 V Dubuisson (Fra) 72 76, F Andersson Hed (Swe) 76 72, S Dyson (Eng) 72 76, P Casey (Eng) 70 78, R Derksen (Ned) 74 74, T Lewis (Eng) 73 75, R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 78 70, A Sullivan (Eng) 72 76, P Hedblom (Swe) 73 75, L Gagli (Ita) 75 73, J Edfors (Swe) 70 78,

149 R Gonzalez (Arg) 75 74, R Wattel (Fra) 73 76, R Finch (Eng) 72 77, R McIlroy (Nir) 74 75, G McDowell (Nir) 74 75, S Jamieson (Sco) 73 76, J Gonnet (Fra) 74 75, M Wiegele (Aut) 68 81, J Campillo (Esp) 76 73, H Otto (RSA) 74 75, S Gallacher (Sco) 76 73, C Cévaër (Fra) 73 76,

150 L Donald (Eng) 78 72, J Walters (RSA) 77 73, T Olesen (Den) 76 74, D Horsey (Eng) 74 76, K Broberg (Swe) 74 76, E Kofstad (Nor) 73 77, M Kieffer (Ger) 76 74, R Wallis (Eng) 74 76, C Paisley (Eng) 75 75, S Wakefield (Eng) 74 76,

151 S Webster (Eng) 75 76, F Aguilar (Chi) 74 77, R Rock (Eng) 77 74, G Maybin (Nir) 76 75, M Lafeber (Ned) 72 79, P Streeter (Eng) 75 76, T Aiken (RSA) 73 78, M Fraser (Aus) 76 75,

152 I Poulter (Eng) 76 76, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 74 78, P Waring (Eng) 74 78, T Fleming (Eng) 76 76,

153 R Green (Aus) 76 77, D Higgins (Irl) 74 79, S Hansen (Den) 76 77, D Van Der Walt (RSA) 78 75, I Garrido (Esp) 75 78,

154 M Hoey (Nir) 73 81, G Wright (Wal) 78 76, P Meesawat (Tha) 77 77,

155 A Hartø (Den) 77 78, M Campbell (Nzl) 77 78,

156 S Chowrasia (Ind) 71 85, J Whatley (Eng) 79 77, J Morrison (Eng) 77 79, J Sjöholm (Swe) 75 81,

157 B Trainor (Irl) 75 82,

158 J Hansen (Den) 79 79,

167 S Henderson (Sco) 82 85,

** G Bhullar (Ind) 74 RT, J Singh (Ind) 78 RT, C Wood (Eng) 77 WD, J Lara (Esp) 79 RT