China crisis for Lowry as Bjerregaard gobbles up birdies

China crisis for Lowry as Bjerregaard gobbles up birdies
 Lucas Bjerregaard. Picture: Getty Images

Lucas Bjerregaard. Picture: Getty Images

Shane Lowry’s miserable two weeks in China continued on Friday when he carded a two over 73 to find himself 13 shots off the lead in the BMW Masters in Shanghai.

Since he began the Final Series with a 15 under par, eighth place performance in the Turkish Airlines Open, the world No 18 has suffered on the greens in China and failed to break 70 in six consecutive rounds.

His driver was partly to blame for an up and down round that featured five birdies, five bogeys and a triple bogey six at the 202-yard sixth.

But while there were ball striking mistakes, he could not make up for them on the grens and took 32 putts to bring his tally for his last six rounds to 197 or an average of nearly 33 per round.

Nobody can compete at the top level with those numbers and Lowry finds himself tied for 52nd on one-over par, six shots outside the Top 10 and a dozen strokes behind the hugely impressive Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark who posted a second successive 66 at Lake Malaren to lead by three shots from Thongchai Jaidee (68) and an out-of-sorts Sergio Garcia (71) on 12-under par.

Ian Poulter (68), Byeong-Hun An (71) and Paul Casey (69) share fourth on eight under while American Peter Uihlein, who had seven irdies in a row in a 66, is tied for seventh with Ross Fisher (71) on seven under.

Paul McGinley, 49 next month and looking to his final season on the European Tour next year, shot a second successive 71 in what is just his eighth event of the year to share 35th on two under.

As for the Race to Dubai, which will be decided in Dubai next week, Lowry is projected to remain third behind Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett.

Willett moved up to tied 28th on three under with a 68 but needs to improve a little more to take a lead over McIlroy into the DP World Tour Championship.

Lowry must win or finish second to overhaul the resting McIlroy and that looks almost impossible given the form shown by Bjerregaard and the leaders.

Despite low temperatures and a stiff breeze at Lake Malaren Golf Club, Bjerregaard, who recently finished runner-up behind Justin Rose in the UBS Hong Kong Open, plundered seven birdies to climb to 12 under par. 

Garcia maintained his lead for much of the second day following three birdies on the front nine, but a bogey on the 12th holed followed by a double bogey seven on the 13th, where his second shot found the water hazard, handed the initiative to Bjerregaard. 

Lucas Bjerregaard, 66 (-12)

“It was a great round and obviously finished off with some good birdies coming in. Nothing much really happened on the first nine, I just played really solid. But it was a good bit tougher than yesterday with the wind up and some of the holes were playing really long, so I stayed patient and got my rewards in the end.
“It was fun playing with Pete [Uihlein]. He had seven birdies in a row, and I was cheering him on. He just missed out by an inch for his eighth in a row there, and I was really hoping that would go in. He’s a nice guy and we played three rounds together in Turkey, so I got to know him there and it was nice that we both played well today.”

Sergio Garcia, 71 (-9)

“It was definitely much tougher today, and I still felt like I left at least three or four shots out there. But it was obviously difficult – if you didn’t hit the right shot at the right time, you could pay the price and I definitely did a couple of times. I made a really nice par on the 17th and a great four on the last, which is playing very difficult. So I’m not too upset, but I would have loved it to be a little bit better.”

Thongchai Jaidee, 68 (-9)

“I’ve played solid the last two days. I hit 17 greens today, the only miss was on the last hole, where I made bogey. I hit some very good iron shots and also some good tee shots, plus my putting was solid, especially on the back nine. So it was a very good day, especially because the course was playing very tough today.”

Ian Poulter, 68 (-8)

"I played nicely, and it’s continuing my form from last week when I hit lots of greens in regulation and felt that I was leaving a lot of chances out there. But I’ve started to take a few chances the last couple of days, and I've played some solid golf. So on reflection, apart from the three bogeys, and two of those were with wedges in my hand, I’m feeling pretty good about things.
“I can’t remember the last time I had four birdies in a row, but it was nice to see a few birdies going in. The game has been there lately, so I know I’m playing well enough but I just haven't been holing putts. But for the last three rounds I’ve changed something with my putting, it’s felt a lot better and obviously I’m making a few birdies now.”

Round Two scores

132 L Bjerregaard  (Den) 66 66,

135 S Garcia  (Esp) 64 71, T Jaidee (Tha) 67 68,

136 P Casey  (Eng) 67 69, B An (Kor) 65 71, I Poulter (Eng) 68 68,

137 P Uihlein  (USA) 71 66, R Fisher (Eng) 66 71,

138 F Molinari (Ita) 68 70, V Dubuisson  (Fra) 65 73, M Kaymer (Ger) 69 69,

139 J Morrison  (Eng) 70 69, J Quesne  (Fra) 70 69, C Wood  (Eng) 70 69, H Stenson (Swe) 68 71, S Kjeldsen (Den) 72 67, M Fitzpatrick  (Eng) 68 71, J Rose (Eng) 67 72, K Broberg (Swe) 69 70,

140 M Fraser (Aus) 70 70, D Howell (Eng) 69 71, G Bourdy (Fra) 70 70, P Reed (USA) 71 69, B Wiesberger  (Aut) 71 69, M Kieffer (Ger) 72 68, D Zecheng (Chn) 68 72, T Fleetwood  (Eng) 72 68,

141 L Oosthuizen  (RSA) 70 71, B Hebert  (Fra) 69 72, D Willett  (Eng) 72 69, Z Hui-Lin (Chn) 71 70, L Wenchong (Chn) 70 71, D Lee  (Nzl) 70 71, E Grillo (Arg) 71 70,

142 T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 71 71, M Warren (Sco) 72 70, G Stal  (Fra) 69 73, E Pepperell (Eng) 68 74, J Van Zyl (RSA) 68 74, S Hend (Aus) 69 73, T Pieters  (Bel) 71 71, P McGinley (Irl) 71 71, B Grace  (RSA) 71 71,

143 R Ramsay  (Sco) 68 75, C Zi-Hao (Chn) 72 71, A Wall (Eng) 73 70, L Slattery (Eng) 72 71, R Karlberg  (Swe) 70 73,

144 G Storm  (Eng) 72 72, A Cañizares  (Esp) 73 71, J Luiten (Ned) 70 74,

145 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 72 73, S Lowry  (Irl) 70 75, L Haotong (Chn) 71 74, C Yi (Chn) 73 72, D Horsey (Eng) 70 75, S Gallacher (Sco) 72 73, A Sullivan (Eng) 74 71, P Larrazábal (Esp) 74 71, F Zanotti (Par) 70 75,

146 K Moon (Kor) 72 74, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 72 74, T Olesen (Den) 75 71,

147 J Donaldson (Wal) 76 71, J Daly (USA) 72 75, W Ashun (Chn) 74 73, T Hatton (Eng) 74 73, A Noren  (Swe) 70 77,

148 O Zheng (Chn) 77 71, Z Xinjun (Chn) 68 80, H Ze-Yu (Chn) 74 74,

149 A Levy (Fra) 73 76,

152 M Siem  (Ger) 72 80, R Jacquelin (Fra) 78 74,

153 Z Xiongyi (Chn) 78 75, M Jiménez (Esp) 78 75,

155 Y Zhou Huan (Chn) 80 75,

156 H Mu (Chn) 77 79.