McIlroy and Lowry miss Irish Open cut as McDowell plots weekend charge

Finland’s Mikko Ilonen leads Graeme McDowell by two, however, after carding a three under par round of 68 at Fota Island.

Graeme McDowell's putter ran hot at Fota Island.
Graeme McDowell's putter ran hot at Fota Island.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

FOR THE SECOND day running, Mikko Ilonen leads at the close of play at The Irish Open.

The Finnish golfer followed up his opening round of 64 with a -3 score of 68 at Fota Island. He leads a trio of players in second, on -8, including Graeme McDowell (66), Robert Rock (66) and Romain Wattel (65).

Padraig Harrington is tied for eighth after his round of 67 saw him sign off for a 36-hole score of -6. Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin is also on -6 after firing the round of the day. He carded six birdies and did not drop a shot all afternoon.

Irish amateur Gary Hurley’s excellent tournament continues. He lies of -4 and is tied 16th after a superb round of 66. The news is not so positive for Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry as both golfers, who finished on +1, are set to miss the projected cut.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy checks his ball in the trees on the 4th hole. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

McDowell, who landed six birdies, told reporters, “There’s always a first time for everything. -8 is a nice total and although I don’t expect it to be leading at the end of the day it doesn’t have to. I am just excited to be in contention.”

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Two birdies in a row, on his 12th and 13th holes, set the tone for McDowell as his putter ran hot.

At one stage of the second day, Michael Hoey was one shot off the lead. He then dropped three shots in three holes to fall back but finished on -3, one shot better than Darren Clarke who bounced back with a 68.

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