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Lowry recovers from 'horrendous' start to retain narrow lead in Abu Dhabi

The Offaly native is chasing his first tournament win in three years.

SHANE LOWRY’S LEAD at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has been cut to just one shot, but the Offaly native was pleased to battle back from a ‘horrendous’ start to his second round on Thursday. 

After a course-record 62 to begin his season yesterday, Lowry immediately dropped shots on his second and third holes of the day, yet rebounded strongly to eventually sign for a two-under par round of 70.

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Lowry is in a strong position heading into the weekend. Source: Martin Dokoupil

It leaves the 31-year-old sitting 12-under atop the leaderboard, but just one shot ahead of South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and Richard Sterne, while Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are both among the chasing pack.

Having started poorly, Lowry — without a tournament win in three years — rediscovered his form to pick up shots at the fifth, seventh, 12th and 15th, displaying his excellent iron play and consistent putting stroke on the greens. 

“I’m pretty happy with that,” he told Sky Sports afterwards.

“I knew today was going to be a bit of a weird day after shooting such a good score yesterday.

“But for the start I really feel like I played pretty good today. I think I gave myself a lot of chances, I didn’t really hole that much. I didn’t birdie any of the par-fives.

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

Lowry had been reeled in by Oosthuizen at one stage on Thursday, as the former Open champion carded three birdies on the front nine and although he suffered setbacks on the par-five 10th and the 11th, finished strongly with birdies on 13, 14 and 18 for a round of 68.

“Just look at the names that are behind me, it’s great,” Lowry added.

I’m going out for a knock with Louis tomorrow. I’ll enjoy that and hopefully I can go out and put on a good show.

Paul Dunne opened his 2019 season with a missed cut, however, as a second-round 73 wasn’t enough to see him make the weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, defending champion Sergio Garcia trailed on the opening day the SMBC Singapore Open on Thursday as he tried to shake off a sinus infection and an upset stomach.

Hung Chien-Yao of Taiwan grabbed the early lead with a five-under par 66 in the round which was halted by bad weather.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, playing his first Singapore Open, signed for a 68, along with Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Nicholas Fung of Malaysia.

Spanish and Ryder Cup star Garcia was under the weather but managed to card a 69.

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Ryan Bailey

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