Amateur Shane Lowry was enjoying a European Tour debut beyond even his wildest dreams as the 22 year old Irishman took a two shot lead into the weekend at The 3 Irish Open after a scintillating day of golf at County Louth.
Lowry marked his first round on The European Tour with a five under 67 on Thursday but in the second round he surpassed Francesco Molinari’s course record with a ten under par 62 to go to 15 under par at the halfway stage.
“I holed a lot more putts today,” he said, after confirming it as the lowest round of his career by “four, five or maybe six shots”.
“It's like a dream, really, the way I putted. It's an unbelievable feeling to be leading by two shots over a field like this. I didn't expect it coming into the tournament, but I expected to do well.
“I'll never forget this day as long as I live.”
Molinari’s fortunes were a complete contrast – his overnight lead counted for nothing as he was disqualified for a scorecard error in his second round 73.
Lowry’s nearest challengers are England’s Robert Rock, who shot 65, and Wales' Jamie Donaldson, who are a stroke better off than Paul Lawrie – who enjoyed a hole in one at the 17th.
“It was 196 yards, a little downhill, a little downwind off the left, and hit a beautiful shot,” said former The Open Championship winner Lawrie.
“As soon as I hit it, it was straight down the pin. You've obviously always got to get a little lucky for it to go in, but it was a nice shot.”
The course record is not Lowry’s, however. The Ryder Cup player Graeme McDowell looked unlikely to play over the weekend when he opened with a 77 on Thursday, but he carded ten birdies and an eagle in an incredible 11 under par 61 – only a shot shy of The European Tour’s lowest ever round.
“Yeah, 61, low score of my career,” said the Northern Irishman. “I think I shot 61 one other time in practice.
“You know, 77 wasn't really what I was looking for. I was extremely disappointed, obviously to come here in front of my home fans and disappoint the way I did. But I took a the lot of positives away at the same time because I knew I had not played that badly. I drove the ball particularly bad and I had putted awful, but apart from that, there was some signs that my iron play was there or thereabouts and there was some good stuff happening.
“I certainly thought 66, get myself to one under, two under par might have got me in for the weekend and that's was what I set my sights on. In hindsight I needed something ridiculously low to get in, I can't believe how low the cut is, it’s just crazy but a testament to how good these guys are.”