Lowry retains Abu Dhabi lead

Shane Lowry recovered from a shaky start to ensure he is still the man to catch in Abu Dhabi after two rounds.

Shane Lowry retained the lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship but his advantage was reduced to just a solitary shot by the halfway stage of the tournament.

The Irishman tied the course record with a 10-under 62 to open up a three-shot cushion at the top of the leaderboard after the first round.

Lowry recovered from a poor start at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to stay out in front on Thursday, carding a 70 to move to 12 under through 36 holes.

A three-time winner on the European Tour, the 31-year-old bogeyed the second and third holes before making two birdies on the front nine. He picked up two more shots after the turn, while a short birdie attempt on the green at the par-five 18th narrowly failed to find the cup.

 

“I’m really happy with that,” said Lowry. “I knew today was going to be a bit of a weird day after shooting such a low score yesterday.

“I just tried to go out and play like I played. To be honest, right from the start, I really feel like I played pretty well today. I think I gave myself a lot of chances.

“Some of the shots early on were pretty horrendous. I battled back and hit some really nice shots out there and hit some in close and made some birdies. I was happy with myself.”

South African duo Richard Sterne and Louis Oosthuizen are hot on Lowry’s heels, sharing second place on 11 under.

Sterne has yet to drop a shot through two rounds, while Oosthuizen matched his compatriot’s four-under 68 despite bogeys at the 10th and 11th.

Early clubhouse leader Lee Westwood also signed for a 68 to sit two adrift of Lowry, with Ian Poulter, Soren Kjeldsen, Tom Lewis and Scott Jamieson a further stroke back on nine under.

Tommy Fleetwood holed a birdie put at the 18th to make the cut, but the Englishman will have to come from three under to win the tournament for a third consecutive year following a level-par 72.

 

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