Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy in the mix after back nine surges on PGA Tour

Tom McKibbin sees a sloppy finish damage a promising round in South Africa

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy are well placed to make a move at the weekend at the Cognizant Classic as they stayed well in contention on a packed leaderboard at PGA National.

Lowry sparked into life on his back nine when he birdied holes 10 to 13, birdieing the par 5 10th and then hitting great approaches on the next three holes to 14 feet twice and five feet, converting them all. Lowry hit a great approach to the par 3 17th hole over the water to seven feet but missed the putt. Lowry then parred the final hole, missing another chance of birdie from 12 feet, to sign for a four-under-par round of 67 at eight under, three shots off the lead of Bud Cauley.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, had four birdies on his back nine, including his final hole, his only bogey a three-putt from 62 feet at the 12th hole. McIlroy matched Lowry with a 67 for eight under too, three shots off the lead. The Northern Irishman won the event in 2012, and lost a playoff in 2014, while Lowry finished second in the tournament in 2022.

Meanwhile on the DP World Tour, Tom McKibbin saw a sloppy finish severely damage a promising card on round two of the SDC Championship in South Africa. McKibbin had five birdies in his first 14 holes, before he eagled the par 5 sixth hole, his 15th, to move into second place on nine-under-par.


The Northern Irishman then disappointingly finished bogey-double bogey-bogey to slip down to five under, six shots off the lead of Englishman Daniel Brown. He is tied ninth for the tournament.

On the LPGA Tour, Leona Maguire never got going on Friday as she slipped down the field badly at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore with a 77. The Cavan woman also had a double bogey, on her ninth hole, as well as four other bogeys, with a sole birdie on the eighth hole as she dropped down to tied 38th place on three over, 10 shots behind the lead of French woman Celine Boutier.

On the LIV Golf tour in Jeddah, Graeme McDowell was near the bottom of the 54-man field on two over in tied 49th after a two-over-par 72, 10 shots behind the leaders, recent LIV recruits Adrian Meronk and Jon Rahm.

Much of the attention, however, was centred on Anthony Kim after 12 years away from the professional game. The American was dead last on six over after a 76 that included a shank and a topped drive.

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times