Shane Lowry: nice touch for a big lad. Ermindo Armino/AP/Press Association Images

Irish duo surge into contention in Portugal

Former Irish Open champ Shane Lowry carded a flawless 66 to climb to within four shots of Simon Khan’s second round lead, a position he shares with compatriot Peter Lawrie.

THE SHOOT-OUT at the Portugal Masters showed little sign of abating today, with benign conditions again proving little hindrance to scoring.

The 36-hole pace is currently being set by last year’s European PGA champion, Simon Khan, whose aggregate total of of thirteen-under-par sees him one shot clear of a a trio of players, among them Wales’ Rhys Davies and first round leader James Kingston.

The round of the day was probably that of the British Walker Cup hero Tom Lewis. Only weeks into his professional career, the 20-year-old from Welwyn Garden City covered Vilamoura’s Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in a mere 64 shots. In search of a finish that would secure his playing privileges for the 2012 season, Lewis heads into the weekend three shots adrift of the lead.

Amongst a fourteen-strong crowd of players a shot further back sit the names of Peter Lawrie and Shane Lowry. At 60th and 62nd on the Race to Dubai standings, respectively, both are one lucrative finish away from guaranteeing their place at the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

Padraig Harrington, who appeared to have rediscovered some form during yesterday’s opening round, struggled to find his rhythm on day two, eventually settling for a modest round of 71. At six-under-par for the tournament, the three-time major champion finds himself in a tie for 43rd place, one shot ahead of Damien McGrane and Gary Murphy.

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