Shane Lowry brushed off an elbow to the face to maintain his lofty position near the top of the British Masters leader board at Woburn.
Lowry added a two under par 69 to move to seven under par - two shots behind the leading duo of Soren Kjeldsen (68) and England’s 21-year old Matthew Fitzpatrick (69).
Lowry was sporting bruised temple sustained when celebrated Shane Long’s sensational goal in the Republic of Ireland’s shock 1-0 win over Germany on Thursday night.
The Offaly man and long-time caddy Dermot Byrne joined Padraig Harrington and his caddy, Ronan Flood along with Irish-born caddy Darren Reynolds watching the game in a rented house near Woburn.
Lowry explained: “The lads are staying in a nice house with a massive TV and we went over to watch it but I just wish someone had a video when we scored that goal as the reaction was just amazing.
“That’s when I jumped into a flying elbow in the face from Dermot!
“We couldn’t celebrate as both Pádraig and I were out early Friday but there maybe time for a small drink on Sunday night.” “Hopefully now I can be part of an Irish hat-trick come Sunday winning this event and with Ireland beating Poland in the football and Ireland taking care of France in the rugby.” Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney was last off the course and tied with Harrington with a pair of 69s. Graeme McDowell added a 67 to move to five under par and make it three cuts in succession back on the European Tour.
Rookie pro Paul Dunne ensured himself a second pay cheque in as many weeks with scores of 71 and 69 for a share of 42nd at two under par while Michael Hoey made it right on the level par cut with rounds of 69 and 73.
Meanwhile West Waterford’s Gary Hurley confessed that he will have to learn to keep his cool after he paid the price for his first round 79 and missed the cut in the Volopa Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa and Golf Resort.
The Maynooth University star missed out alongside his Walker Cup team mates Cormac Sharvin, Gavin Moynihan and Jack Hume as a hectic schedule that saw him follow the Walker Cup with Q-School and his pro debut in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last week.
While he was pleased to recover with a 68 yesterday to miss the one under par cut by just four shots, he admitted he was simply too mentally exhausted on the opening day and saw red as his game faltered.
“I was just so mentally exhausted yesterday, I started to get angry at a lot of shots where I wouldn’t normally,” Hurley said.
Derry’s Michael McGeady and Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick head the home challenge, six shots adrift of England’s Robert Coles and Italy’s Nino Bertasio, on four under.
Overnight leader Coles battled to a 69 to set the target at 10 under and he was joined at the top late in the day by 27-year old Bertasio, who holed an 80-yard sand wedge for an eagle two at the fourth in a 66.
They are two shots clear of England’s Tom Murray while Chris Selfridge (71) battled neck problems to lie tied 30th with Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee (71) and Royal County Down’s Simon Thornton (72) on three under.
Jonny Caldwell (70) is tied 39th on two under while Headfort’s Rory McNamara was the only other Irish player to make the one under par cut after a 74.
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