Sports

Sharma makes cut at Open yet again; Woods misses; Ireland’s Lowry leads

V Krishnaswamy Portrush | Updated on July 19, 2019 Published on July 19, 2019

Ireland’s Shane Lowry on the 8th hole during the second round   -  REUTERS

Sharma closed his round with four straight pars starting from the 15th hole

Shubhankar Sharma was happy to have ensured himself action for the weekend, even though he felt he could have gone much lower in the second round of the 148th Open Championships. The weather, after a calm rain-free morning, saw the skies open up and it was getting somewhat chilly, too, making it difficult to play for the second wave.

Sharma, who turns 23 on Sunday, had three birdies on the front nine, had none on the back. He dropped two bogeys on either side and at even par 142 (70-72) he was Tied-44th but that position would change with half the field yet to finish.

“I’m happy that I’ve secured my place for the weekend. I feel like I could have gone lower but there’s another 36 holes to go and I start on a clean slate again,” said Sharma, who made the cut last year, too, on his debut. Sharma admitted, “I’ll need to do some putting as I wasn’t really rolling it the way I was yesterday on the back-nine. I was kind of tentative and didn’t really have the right speed on the greens.”

Speaking about his pain points, he added, “On the first hole, I just pulled it and on the fourth, the wind just took it a little bit and went in the bunker. On 12, I misjudged my shot and so I lost three shots there.”

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Shane Lowry moved to the top of the leader board even though he still had seven holes to play on the back nine. Starting the day at four-under, he moved to 10-under. Beginning the second day with a hat-trick of birdies, Lowry added more gains on fifth, eighth and 10th. The most prominent name to exit was Tiger Woods. He followed his first round 78 with a 70 and his frustration was in full view at times. Also likely to miss the weekend action was the 2013 champion, Phil Mickelson, who came here after losing 15 pounds in a week, and had 76 on first day was three over through 10 in second to be eight-over and the cut was likely at one or two-over.

Sharma dropped his first shot of the week at the par-four first hole, but recovered quickly with a birdie on the second hole. He gave that shot back again with another bogey on the fourth hole. The Indian then made successive birdies on holes six and seven but they were offset by bogeys on 12 and 14 before he closed his round with four straight pars starting from the 15th hole.

One shot behind leader Lowry was overnight leader American J B Holmes (66-68) at eight-under for 36 holes.

Tied for third was Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (67), not quite fulfilling his promise when it comes to the Majors, got to seven-under, where he was joined by 46-year-old veteran Lee Westwood (67), who has been on the verge of a Major win on many an occasion. Playing his 25th Open and 82nd Major, Westwood has three seconds and six thirds and 18 Top-10s but no wins.

Justin Harding (65), whose year seems to be getting better all the time, young gun Cameron Smith (66) and the Olympic champion Justin Rose (67) were six-under and tied fifth.

Winner of four Majors in last 10, Brooks Koepka (69) had a relatively quiet day but he was still hanging in the Top-10 at five-under.

Jordan Spieth, whose last Major was the Open in 2017, made a big run on the front nine from fifth to eighth. He had a birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie streak but failed to add to that substantially in the remaining 10 holes. He shot 67 to be five-under 137.

Rory McIlroy, who shot 79, on first day, had just started, as had defending champion Francesco Molinari and US Open winner, Gary Woodland, both three-over 74 on first day.

Published on July 19, 2019
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