ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Shane Lowry followed his opening 10-under 62 with a hard-fought 70 at the Abu Dhabi Championship to limit his shrinking lead to one stroke on Thursday.
Lowry started nervously with bogeys on two of his first three holes, then held off South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Richard Sterne thanks to sublime play on the par 3s. He's birdied the par 3s six times and parred the other two.
He also enjoyed some good saves, lifting himself out of a deep greenside bunker at No. 10 to within 8 feet, and chipping from rough at the back of 14 to 6 feet. Lowry also narrowly missed birdie chances on 11 and 13.
Oosthuizen's challenge faltered after the turn when he bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11, but he rebounded quickly to compensate. He put pressure on Lowry on the last hole, where his second shot bounced out of the bunker, and he hit his approach to within inches for a tap-in birdie, his sixth in the round for a 68.
Sterne remained flawless after two rounds to post 68, too.
Lee Westwood was alone in fourth on 10 under after a bogey-free 68.
Ian Poulter shared the lead before Lowry teed off. He had a birdie putt on his penultimate hole for the outright lead but missed right. Then he found water on his last hole, the ninth, and dropped his first shot of the round. He was three off the lead with Scott Jamieson, Tom Lewis and Soren Kjeldsen.
Tommy Fleetwood, the two-time defending champion, made the cut at 3 under overall thanks to a last-hole, 8-foot birdie putt. He finished the second round in par.