Holmes and Lowry share lead as
Fleetwood and Westwood push
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[July 20, 2019]
By Simon Evans
PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (Reuters) -
Ireland's Shane Lowry proved master of the Dunluce links for the
second successive day to move into a share of the halfway lead with
American J.B. Holmes at the British Open on Friday.
But there was a bitter-sweet exit for Rory McIlroy, who missed the
cut despite bouncing back from his nightmare first round 79 with an
McIlroy will miss out on the weekend along with Tiger Woods, who
shot a one-under 70 but still ended six-over for his two rounds.
A flurry of birdies early in a sizzling outward nine of 31 looked
like giving the 32-year-old Lowry from across the border the
outright lead but a bogey at the 18th left him on eight under after
successive rounds of 67.
Holmes, the overnight leader, had the better of the weather earlier
in the day and consolidated his challenge with a 68.
They will play together in the last group on Saturday in what
promises to be a battle of the beards.
Once again the par-71 layout on the Antrim coast proved tough
terrain for the world's best golfers, although there were some low
numbers on a congested leaderboard.
English duo Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood, both looking for their
first majors, made hay with rounds of 68 moving them to seven under
while South African Justin Harding's posted the lowest round of the
day, six birdies and an eagle helping him to a six-under 65 to move
three off the lead.
Alongside Harding are Australian Cameron Smith, who scored a 66, and
England's Justin Rose after a 67.
South Africa's Dylan Frittelli, who only secured his place last
week, was on five under after his charge was tempered by a
double-bogey at the 17th and a bogey on the final hole.
Holmes left several other bigger-name Americans in the shade again
although Brooks Koepka, the world number one, and 2017 winner Jordan
Spieth, are well-placed to challenge on five under.
There will be no Woods or Phil Mickelson on Saturday, meaning it is
the first time in the 83 majors in which the two American
heavyweights have both appeared that neither survived for the
Lowry, given loud support by the packed galleries, opened with three
successive birdies, made another at the fifth and another at the
eighth to move into the lead outright.
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Republic of Ireland's Shane Lowry on the 18th hole during the second
round REUTERS/Ian Walton
When his ball, sporting the four-leafed clover emblem, disappeared
after a monster putt on the 10th he held a two-shot lead but
three-putted the 14th. A super par-save at the 17th kept him ahead
but he paid for an aggressive chip on the last and missed a 12-foot
"I'm disappointed with the bogey but I'm where I want to be and
happy with my two days' work," said Lowry, from County Offaly in
Ireland. "I knew the rain was coming so I wanted to get a fast
start. I'm very, very excited for tomorrow.
"Next week I'll be in Memphis and there will be 10 men and a dog
following me. There will be thousands of Irish people roaring me on.
Will be amazing."
Fleetwood grew up playing links golf at Southport and delighted the
crowd with a birdie on the 18th. Westwood, 46, has had to wait a lot
longer for his first major, having had 18 top-10 finishes but never
But with his girlfriend on his bag, he rolled back the years with a
brilliant round, including a 65-foot birdie at the 16th.
"There's too much ground to cover before Sunday night. There's a
long way to go in this tournament," Westwood said.
Koepka suffered a cool day with the putter but was happy to be in
the pack. "Right where I want to be and close enough to make a run
this weekend," the four-time major winner said.
Late in the day all eyes turned to local favourite McIlroy who
produced a thrilling counter-attack in a bid to make the cut after
his sorry 79 on Thursday.
McIlroy hit three straight birdies after the turn but a bogey on the
par-three 13th disrupted his momentum.
A birdie on the 16th offered a glimmer of hope but he failed to get
back the stroke he needed, wasting an excellent fairway position on
the 18th as he missed the green to the left, leaving himself too
much to do.
(Reporting by Simon Evans, writing by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed
Osmond and Christian Radnedge)
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