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Shane Lowry was the pick of the Irish bunch on Friday in The Open with a brilliant five-under-par performance taking him close to the business end of the standings.
The 2019 Champion Golfer of the Year got back into the swing of things instantly after his five-bogey first-round display left him over par.
The Clara native achieved four birdies on the front nine and suffered his only bogey on the course’s infamous fourth hole.
He complimented his front-nine 32 with a score of 33 on the back-nine, with two further birdies helping the defending champion to a four-under-par score heading into the final two rounds.
The gap between tournament leader, 2010 Champion Golfer of the Year Louis Oosthuizen and Lowry did expand but the Offaly man will be happy with his recovery on day two.
Lowry’s Team Ireland Olympic teammate Rory McIlroy shot even for the second day in a row to confirm his position in The Open for the weekend.
McIlroy made amends on holes 4-6 after a horrible stretch yesterday saw him shoot three bogeys in a row.
However, the golfer shot four bogeys once again, all on different holes to that of yesterday, and it ultimately kept his score higher than it could have been.
His four birdies countered the bogeys and helped the Northern Irish golfer ensure a stable round two performance kept him afloat.
The final hole was the only hole he birdied for the second time.
Pádriag Harrington also made the cut, joining Lowry and McIlroy among the ranks for rounds three and four.
The two-time Champion Golfer of the Year went two-under-par on Friday to secure his spot in this weekend’s action.
Harrington avoided the same mistakes he made at the beginning of round one to ensure there would be no double-bogey on his scorecard again.
However, two bogeys on the front nine – one at hole 9, where he birdied on Thursday- ensured a second consecutive 36 for the first half of the course.
Fortunately, the Dubliner more than made up for this with a strong performance on the back nine, particularly on the first six holes, to ensure he brought his score down below the cut.
Harrington had a lot more fortune on hole 15 on Friday but struggled once again on the closing hole, putting with his fifth shot for the second round running.
Darren Clarke was the only golfer from the island of Ireland to miss the cut, with the 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year seeing his return to the course he won at get cut short.
A poor front nine was compounded by a woeful start to the final nine holes as Clarke could only manage a triple bogey at 10 – a hole he made par at in round one.
A further bogey on 11 put the writing on the wall for the last man to win at Sandwich, who bowed out with a score of six-over-par.
Harrington, Lowry and McIlroy will progress to the final two rounds, which will be available to watch on Sky Sports The Open.