Shane Lowry chasing star-studded leaderboard at 100th PGA Championship

By Adam Schupak

Shane Lowry turned over when the alarm rang at half past 4 o'clock on Saturday morning.

It was the start of a long, but productive day for the pride of County Offaly.

Lowry first had to play 11 holes to complete his rain-delayed second round of the 100th PGA Championship and did so in impressive fashion, signing for a 6-under 64.

After a trip back to the hotel and a quick shower, Lowry returned to tour Bellerive Country Club for the third straight time in the 60s.

In the afternoon, he signed for a 1-under 69 and a 54-hole total of 8-under 202, which is good for a share of sixth place with the likes of 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, defending champion Justin Thomas and 2015 PGA winner Jason Day.

Five of the World's top 10 players are within four shots of the lead.

"I said to [my brother] Alan walking to 18, I said, 'Make birdie here and we have a right chance tomorrow.' So that's what it is. I feel like I'm where I want to be," Lowry said.

I said early on in the week, late single digits and going into tomorrow we'll be golden, and it is.

Lowry is chasing a star-studded leaderboard topped by U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who shot 4-under 66 to take a 2-stroke lead over Australian Adam Scott heading into Sunday.

Koepka, who is at 12-under 198, leads the field in Strokes Gained: Off the tee and ranks eighth in Strokes Gained: Putting, which is a pretty deadly combination.

"I feel like if I do what I'm supposed to, I should win the golf tournament," Koepka said.

Scott, 38, moved into contention for his first victory of the season with a 5-under 65 on Saturday, and is seeking his first major since the 2013 Masters.

"I've watched Tiger win 14 of these things hanging around a lot of the time," Scott said.

"He ran away with a few, for sure, but he hung around for a lot. And I would love to hang around tomorrow. And that might mean shooting 5 under again to hang around, but I would love to be in the mix coming down the stretch and have the chance to hole some putts to win."

Others in striking distance to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy include Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland and Jon Rahm, who are knotted at 9 under and bidding for their first major.

Rory McIlroy will remain stuck on four majors after another disappointing day.

McIlroy made three birdies in his final five holes en route to a bogey-free 67 in the morning to survive the cut at even par.

Padraig Harrington missed by a stroke after 70 (+1) and Paul Dunne (+6) after a pair of 73s had the weekend off.

In the afternoon, television cameras caught McIlroy shanking a ball on the practice tee and it didn't get much better once his round began.

On a soft Bellerive course ripe for the taking, McIlroy toured the front side in 37 and made a double-bogey at 12 en route to shooting 1-over 71.

The PGA Championship is on pace to be the easiest in tournament history with a scoring average of 70.16, but McIlroy's game hasn't looked sharp.

Adding insult to injury, McIlroy enters the final round one stroke behind club professional Ben Kern. But the final day has all the makings of a wild shootout.

"It's a packed leaderboard and there are going to be about 10 of us looking for that round of the year tomorrow," Scott said.

Lowry is happy to be among those in the mix, and have a chance to improve upon his disappointing final round at the 2016 U.S. Open when he shot 76.

"I've been in this position before, so I know what it's about," he said.

Hopefully, I can go out and do a better job this time than I did the last time.


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