Lowry did not drop a shot in a round of six-under par 65 to move to nine under par in overcast conditions on the Twenty-Ten Course.
It is easily the Carton House golfer’s best display in four appearances in Wales. Prior to this week, the two-time Tour winner averaged 74 strokes for his seven Wales Open rounds that included a first round 81 in 2012 and then withdrawing the next day.
In contrast, Lowry has now averaged 66.5 this week and that’s thanks to a new Odyssey 2Ball ‘Tank’ putter that’s hopefully putting him towards a third Tour win, and his first since capturing 2012 Portugal Masters.
“I only put the ‘Tank’ putter in the bag this week and already I’ve had 27 putts today and 27 putts yesterday, so that’s been a real key to my two rounds,” he said.
“For some reason I’ve always struggled when I’ve come here to Celtic Manor and that’s probably the reason why I didn’t play the event last year.
“I’ve got a bit of a collection of putters back home but this one, and I’ve had one of Super Stroke grips fitted, has been on fire from the outset yesterday.
“But it was not that easy out there and to be bogey free, and with six birdies on top of that, was nice.
“To be leading on a golf course that I don’t know why I haven’t done well on, I’m excited with two rounds to play.
“There are not many times I have led after Friday, so this is pretty new to me, but I’ve been out her on Tour now for six years and I know what to do, and how to play Saturday and Sunday golf.”
Rookie Ryder Cupper Stephen Gallacher played down any Gleneagles fears after scores of 78 and 70 to miss the cut by five shots.
“There’s no alarm bells ringing and I am looking forward now to next week,” said Gallacher.
However there was good news for Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood, who birdied two of his closing four holes, as they’re all through to the final two rounds.