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Supporters behind ‘inspiration’ Shane Lowry as he challenges top spot in Augusta

Shane Lowry celebrates a birdie. Picture: AP

Seoirse Mulgrew

Shane Lowry has been hailed as an inspiration as he challenges the top spot in the Masters.

Lowry has made his way into a share of second place, hitting a four-under-par 68 at Augusta National.

The former British Open champion started the day six shots back of the first-round lead. He then matched his career-best round at Augusta with a four-under-par 68 to reach three under at the halfway point of the year's first major.

Ray Molloy, a director of Esker Hills, said there’s great excitement in the club, which is hailed for giving Lowry his start in golf.

“Just hopefully that things go well for him, we thought we couldn’t surpass the open in 2019 but this just would. It’s the greatest competition of all and to have one of our own there is just super,” he said.

“He was wandering around the clubhouse only 14 years ago and now he’s ahead of Tiger Woods, it’s just a fabulous story.

“We’re a small club so we’re a very united club but we’re very busy today and it’s great news for Shane. When he comes into the clubhouse, he’s just one of ours.”

“You get what you see, and you see what you get with Shane.”

Tullamore Councillor Danny Owens said Lowry has accomplished “unimaginable” achievements in his short career.

“He’s fantastic, he’s an inspiration to all of us in Offaly and in Ireland,” he said.

“He has set a great legacy for himself and he’s only 35 so he’ll be playing golf for a long time yet. But already he’s won major tournaments worldwide so he’s an inspiration to all young people the way he handles himself.”

“The very fact that halfway through the competition he’s in second place says an awful lot and I hope he can go on and push for the title. But people would be very satisfied if he was anywhere in the top 10 or top 20 even.”

Lowry will head into the weekend in a four-way share of second place and five shots back of world number one Scottie Scheffler.

Three other players share second with Lowry, including former champions Charl Schwartzel and Hideki Matsuyama, as well as overnight leader Sungjae Im.

The Offaly native is making his seventh Masters’ appearance this week at Augusta National, where he has missed the cut three times before and finished in a career-best share of 21st last year.

"I'd say that's one of the best rounds I've ever played," Lowry told Sky Sports after his round.

"I'm in a great position. You’re going to need everything to go your way to be standing there getting a green jacket on Sunday.”

"I’m where I want to be. I’m where I need to be. It’s going to be hard, but I’m looking forward to it."

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