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The Open day two: Lowry shares halfway lead as McIlroy fightback falls short

Rory McIlroy followed his opening-round 79 with a six-under-par 65 to miss the cut by just a shot.

Rory McIlroy’s Open Championship came to an end, despite a valiant second-round fightback (David Davies/PA).
Rory McIlroy’s Open Championship came to an end, despite a valiant second-round fightback (David Davies/PA).

Irish star Shane Lowry so nearly secured the lead all to himself at The Open, but had to be content to share with JB Holmes after dropping a shot at the 18th on Friday.

Here, PA looks at an engaging second round at Royal Portrush that included home favourite Rory McIlroy missing the cut.

Cuts Rory to the core

Not even a fine six under for the day could save an understandably dejected McIlroy from missing the cut, and the second half of his homecoming championship. The 30-year-old edged so close to the combined score of one over required to inch through to the weekend, but fell agonisingly one shot short. His eight over par in a distressing first round eventually proved too much to overcome.

Statistical method in The Open madness

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Francesco Molinari, pictured, is the exception that proves the rule when it comes to picking an Open champion at the halfway stage (Richard Sellers/PA)

The 2019 Open champion is almost bound to come from one of the 10-best players from the first two rounds at Royal Portrush: 23 of the last 24 major champions were inside the top 10 after 36 holes. Reigning Open champion Francesco Molinari is the one outlier in that stint however, as he was tied in 29th this time last year.

Spieth on the charge

Once the Texas longhorn started rumbling, Jordan Spieth steered that momentum all the way to a four under par 67. The 25-year-old Dallas native had eased to an under-the-radar 70 on Thursday, to start the second round just one under par. But he hit an eagle on the seventh to add to three birdies on the front nine, albeit with one bogey slipping into the mix. Another birdie on 12 underscored yet again just how well he can cope with links golf. “I just grew up in the wind, having to play a lot of different shots and using imagination around the greens; I love links golf,” he said.

Top of the shots

The in-form Lee Westwood putted right across the green at the 16th for a stunning birdie – on the hole called ‘Calamity’. For Westwood the 16th has been anything but problematic though, as he has birdied it in both rounds so far.

Don’t sit there!

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Lucas Bjerregaard, centre, tries to shift a spectator who sat on his ball at The Open (Richard Sellers/PA)

Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard had hardly teed off at the first when he ran into problems. But these were hardly of his own making, as a spectator took a seat on his ball. As the Dane and the officials searched for his ball, all of a sudden the offending fan realised his misdemeanour. Up he popped and on his way he went, leaving Bjerregaard to press on towards a 68, for a four under score at the halfway stage.

You can quote me on that

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England’s Lee Westwood kisses girlfriend and caddie Helen Storey on the 18th during day two of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club (Richard Sellers/PA)

“She’s delighted to be caddying at a major because she doesn’t have to rake the bunkers and get sand on her trainers!” Lee Westwood jokes about girlfriend Helen Storey caddying for him for the first time at a major tournament.

Lehman’s last hurrah

Former champion Tom Lehman shed a tear as he completed what is likely to be his last appearance at The Open. The 1996 winner at Lytham’s exemption is about to expire now he is 60, so he will have to qualify to work his way back into future tournaments. Lehman shot 12 over for the first two rounds, but no one fretted too much about that as walked his final hole at an Open Championship. He said: “This one was very sweet and joyful; tears of joy.”

Home tweet home

The spectators in one house overlooking the Royal Portrush course have been busy at the printers. On Thursday the banner unfurled was urging on Rory McIlroy, but by Friday afternoon the message of support had switched to Graeme McDowell.

PA

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