GREENSBORO, N.C. – Shane Lowry gets to keep the Claret Jug for an extra year due to the coronavirus pandemic – he’s the Champion Golfer of the Two Years – but what he’d really like is to get his hands around another trophy on Sunday at the Wyndham Championship. Lowry, 33, took a step in the right direction, shooting 7-under 63 at Sedgewood Country Club, his lowest round of the season, to join the trophy hunt.
“I felt like I had a score like that in me yesterday,” Lowry said. “I was quite disappointed to shoot 2 under. It was nice to go out there and shoot a good score today.”
Lowry, who won the British Open at Royal Portrush last July, entered the week at No. 131 in the FedEx Cup point standings and needing a strong finish to improve inside the top 125 to qualify for the Playoffs, which begin next week at the Northern Trust in Boston. But Lowry isn’t stressing it. The Irishman’s wife and daughter flew home three weeks ago and he’s going to be staying in the U.S. through the U.S. Open in September, regardless. Plus, if he doesn’t earn a spot in the Northern Trust field, he’s got a backup plan – Lowry scheduled a buddies’ trip to Rhode Island.
“Not that that’s a win-win, but at least I have something to look forward to if that doesn’t happen,” he said of the getaway with among others a childhood pal, who joined him in Memphis two weeks ago. When asked if it would be a working vacation, he smiled and said, “We will play some golf, yeah. A little bit, not much.”
Lowry’s second round on Friday, played under preferred lies, got off to an inauspicious start with a bogey at No. 11, his second hole of the day, but it would be his last shot dropped. He canned a 16-foot birdie at 13 to turn the tide and rolled it beautifully on his second nine, draining a 22-foot birdie from the fringe at the second and a 30-footer at the fourth. The highlight of the day was drilling a 4-iron from 242 yards to 7 feet and sinking the eagle putt at the fifth. Lowry finished T-7 here in 2017, when he came up short of qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs by two spots, and expressed a fondness for the Donald Ross layout.
“It’s nice to come to this golf course after the course we played last week,” he said. “I feel like (TPC Harding Park) was just stand on every tee and whip driver out and hit as hard as you can whereas this course you have to kind of think your way around and I like that type of golf.”
Lowry came home in 5-under 30, to improve to 9-under 131 and trail clubhouse leaders Tom Hoge, Si Woo Kim and Talor Gooch by one stroke.
“I know what I need to do, a top 15 would probably be OK but at the end of the day, I feel like I’m on another level than that. I’m here to win a golf tournament,” he said. “I’m not just here to get to next week. It’s hopefully going to be a weekend of good golf and on Sunday I won’t have to worry about getting into next week and I’ll be right there with a chance to win the golf tournament.”