five birdies | 

Shane Lowry and Ian Poulter close on leaders after strong finish in New Orleans

Shane Lowry wearing checked slacks chosen by playing partner Ian Poulter. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

SHANE Lowry produced some short game brilliance alongside partner Ian Poulter to keep leaders Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in their sights in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Five behind overnight, The European Ryder Cup duo were ten behind after turning in one-over in the foursomes at TPC Louisiana. Dressed in green checked trousers chosen by Lowry, they bogeyed the second and fourth before the Offaly man nearly recorded his second ace of the season at the 213-yard third.

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They then made five birdies and just one bogey in a homeward 32 to post a three-under 69 with the highlight the Offaly man's chip-in birdie from 20 yards at the 15th. Cantlay and Schauffele followed their spectacular 59 in the fourballs with a four-under 68 to lead by one stroke on 17-under from David Lipsky and England's Aaron Rai, and Doc Rodman and Sam Ryder, who shot 67s Lowry and Poulter were in an eight-way tie for eighth on 11-under but Séamus Power and Graeme McDowell missed the eight-under cut by three shots. They carded one birdie and three bogeys in a two-over 74 that left them tied 54th in five-under with only the top 33 teams and ties to progressing. They included Jay Haas, who became the oldest player to make a PGA TOUR cut when he shot 71 with son Bill to make the weekend on the mark aged 68 years, four months and 20 days in his 799th appearance. On the DP World Tour, Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney is relishing the tough set-up after he birdied the last to make the cut on the mark in the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain. The Dubliner (34) signed for a two-under 68 when he returned to Infinitum's Lakes Course to complete his weather-delayed opening round, then chiselled out a one-over 71. "The course is set up very well with tough rough," said Kearney, who was tied 60thon one-under, ten strokes behind Scotland's Scott Jamieson, who shot a 63 to lead by two shots from Finland's Tapio Pulkannen on 11-under. "It's a really tough, proper set-up but I like the tougher test so hopefully I can make a fast start tomorrow and get it going over the weekend." Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell shot a second successive 71 and Cormac Sharvin a 70 as they missed the cut by three strokes on two-over. On the LPGA Tour, Leona Maguire missed her first cut of the season in the DIO Implant LA Open at Wilshire Country Club. The world number 19 made five birdies, five bogeys and a double-bogey in a 73 to finish a shot outside the cut mark on four-over. World number one Jin Young Ko shot a seven-under 64 and Japan's Nasa Hataoka a 68 to share the lead on seven-under, two clear of Australia's Hannah Greene. Stephanie Meadow, meanwhile, shot a one-over 72 to finish four shots outside the cut mark on seven-under. In amateur golf, Kirkistown Castle's Beth Coulter shot a four-under 69 on Portstewart's Strand Course to win the Ulster Women's Championship by a shot from Clandeboye's Jessica Ross. It was Coulter's second win of the season in the Bridgestone Women's Tour following her win in the Zara Bolton Royal Portrush Scratch Cup. Killarney’s Corrina Griffin finished in third place on one-over, two shots clear of Edmondstown’s Evelyn Park and Royal Portrush’s Laura Webb.

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