Shane Lowry’s luck might be about to change after he produced a miraculous par save the last to sneak under the projected cut line in The Players.
Four under for the day and one-under for the tournament with just the dangerous 18th to play, a disaster was on the cards when he pulled his tee shot into the water.
But he was able to drop 180 yards from the pin and hit a stellar approach to nine inches before tapping in for par with his tenth single-putt of the day.
It was just what the doctor ordered for Lowry (31), who has struggled for consistency all season, missing three cuts and recording just one top-25 finish in ten PGA Tour starts.
Tied for 108th overnight after a disappointing opening 75, he raced out of the blocks with birdies at the first two holes, then followed a bogey at the fourth by knocking in an eight-footer for birdie at the seventh before playing the back nine in two under for a super 68.
After getting up and down from sand for par at the 10th and frustratingly three-putting the 560-yard 11th for par, he slotted home a 16 footer for a two at the 186-yard 13th, then made five footers for par at the 14th and 15th before knocking in a 16 footer for another birdie at the 16th.
Thanks to his brilliant four at the last, his one-under total left him eyeing a potential third-round pairing with Tiger Woods, but both men have work to do to get into contention.
South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel took advantage of a benign course set up, firing a six-under 66 to share the clubhouse lead on 10-under par with Patrick Cantlay, who shot 68.
They were one stroke clear of Chesson Hadley, who finished double-bogey bogey for a 69 with Jason Day (67), Steve Stricker (69) and Xander Schauffele (68) lurking just two strokes off the pace on eight-under.
Woods fared better than playing partners Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler who shot 73 and 71 respectively to miss the cut on eight-over and one-over But he was still frustrated to not to take advantage of some good ball-striking as he mixed two birdies with one bogey for a 71.
Believing he needs “something in the mid-60s” today to get back into contention, he said: “I was just a touch off. I had my chances and missed a few opportunities.
“I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts — even par on back nine through the first three holes and those are three really easy holes.
“This course is demanding if you are just a touch off. Looking at the leaderboard with the cut one-under par right now, that’s frightening.
“It’s playing so warm out here, the ball is flying, and it’s playing pretty short.”
Revealing that the longest club he hit was a six-iron to the 18th, his ninth, he said: “I didn’t hit the ball close enough in the right section where I had those 10-12 footers, which I should do with nine iron on down.“
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