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Lowry flies the flag as McIlroy and McDowell miss PGA cut

Darren Clarke and Ryder Cup captain are sticking around the the weekend’s fun.

McIlroy was better prepared for the Wentworth wind-chill today.
McIlroy was better prepared for the Wentworth wind-chill today.
Image: John Walton/PA Wire

SHANE LOWRY LEADS the Irish challenge for the second day running at the PGA Championship in Wentworth but Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are set to miss the projected cut.

Lowry followed up his opening round of 70 with a 71 this afternoon and goes into the weekend on -3. A double bogey on the eighth hole looked to have punctured his early challenge but the Offaly golfer carded three birdies on his final five holes to end Friday on a high note.

Round of the day came courtesy of Francesco Molinari of Italy. The Ryder Cup star had seven birdies and three bogeys in his round of 68 and sits on -6. Lee Westwood and Ernie Els, two familiar faces at Wentworth, are well placed in the top 10. Both men are on -3.

After complaining about of cold, wet and windy conditions during his opening round, McIlroy came better equipped (and dressed) for a chilly afternoon’s work. The Holywood native bogeyed five of his final six holes on Thursday and got off to a wretched start today, dropping two shots over the opening three holes.

Birdies followed at four and five but he handed those shots straight back on the next two holes. With the projected cut at +3 and below, McIlroy settled down and gave himself some outside chances for birdie but putts were failing to find their range. Disaster struck on the par five 17th when McIlroy carded a double bogey seven. A birdie on the last saw him sign off for a 36-hole score of +5.

McDowell, winner of two tournaments this year, fared worse as he signed off, after two rounds, on +5. Over the course of 36 holes, the Portrush man scored just two birdies. Darren Clarke enjoyed a better day of it and was briefly under par before a bogey on 17 brought him back to level.

Paul McGinley and Peter Lawrie made it inside the cut as they closed out their respective rounds to finish +2. Damien McGrane is one shot better off on +1.

McGinley was left cursing a double bogey on 13 but will be pleased to stick around on a weekend when some of the players from the victorious 2012 European Ryder Cup team, including McIlroy, McDowell, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald, missed the cut.

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Patrick McCarry

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