Shane Lowry put aside worries over a robbery at his parents’ Offaly home to keep his hopes of a top finish alive in the weather-delayed Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre.
The Clara native was upset to hear that thieves had ransacked his childhood home in Clara, stealing precious memorabilia and other items, on Thursday night.
But he still managed a rollercoaster 71 that left him seven strokes behind leader Julien Quesne of France on two under par
“So pissed off to hear the news of my parents house being ransacked last night,” Lowry tweeted. “There really are some horrible scumbags in this world.
“I’m just relieved that no one was in the house when the house was broken into and that all my family are safe and unhurt.”
Michael Hoey has had just two bogeys in 36 holes, adding a 68 to his opening 70 to trail Quesne by just five shots on four under.
The Frenchman carded a spellbinding round of 65 in treacherous conditions to open up a one-shot lead over England’s Danny Willett (67) at halfway.
Quesne said: “I hit so many good shots, and holed a lot of putts. I managed to stay calm, and I took a lot of pleasure from how I played today. I found a lot of greens, and any time you do that you’re going to have a good day.”
Like BMW International Open Champion Willett, Quesne already has one European Tour title to his name, having triumphed at this year’s Open de Andalucia Costa del Sol, but to add to their tally the duo will have to fend off the in-form Scot Paul Lawrie.
Lawrie is looking to run up the same treble as Thomas Björn, who last year added the Omega European Masters title to his victories at the Commercialbank Qatar Maters presented by Dolphin Energy and the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Lawrie arrived in Crans Montana on the back of his triumph on home soil last week, and is confident of signing off with another victory before taking a three-week break from competitive action in the build-up to his second Ryder Cup appearance.
He said: “I played lovely again today, hit a lot of good putts – not all of them went in, but a fair few did. So I’m very happy with my day’s work, despite the weather. There’s not a lot you can do the conditions, You’ve just got to get on with the job in hand. A lot of guys don’t like playing in the cold and the wet, but that plays into the hands of people like me who don’t mind it.”
Play was abandoned for the day due to darkness with two groups left out on the course. The second round will resume at 7.45am on Saturday morning, with the third round not scheduled to get underway before 9.25am.
Darren Clarke will be back for the third round after a homeward nine of 33 gave him a 70 that helped him make just his third cut of the season on the projected level par limit.
The former Open champion was four over for the tournament with 10 holes to play but finished in style by playing them in four under.
Having turned for home on three over after a birdie at the 18th, the 44-year old Dungannon man eagled the par-five first and followed a bogey at the fourth with birdies at the next two holes.
He’s alongside the likes of fellow Ryder Cup vice-captain Miguel Angel Jimenez, who followed his first round 77 with a sparking 65.
However, the rest of the Irish contingent did not fare so well.
Gareth Maybin was two over with four to play but followed a birdie at the 15th with a double bogey at the next before closing with two birdies for a 71 that left him a shot outside the mark on one over.
Peter Lawrie was a shot further back after a second successive 72 with Damien McGrane on three over after a 71.
Paul McGinley, another of Jose Maria Olazabal’s vice-captains, shot a 74 thanks to two birdies in his last three holes to finish alongside his skipper on four over.