In a thrilling showdown at the Horizon Irish Open, India’s Shubhankar Sharma and England’s Jordan Smith have emerged as the co-leaders at the midway point of the tournament. The golfing spectacle at The K Club has seen remarkable performances and unexpected twists, making it an event to remember.
Sharma took the golf course by storm, racing to the turn in just 28 shots during his second round, ultimately finishing with a score of 66. His performance set a formidable target of 13 under par under the sweltering conditions of the day.
Smith, on the other hand, mounted an impressive comeback with seven birdies in the first 11 holes. He even secured the outright lead with another birdie on the 15th, but faced a minor setback with a double bogey on the 17th. Smith concluded his round with a birdie on the last hole, finishing with a score of 65.
Shane Lowry, the home favorite, managed to birdie the 17th and 18th holes, recording a second successive 68 and positioning himself five shots behind the leading duo. In contrast, Rory McIlroy experienced a mixed round. He achieved an eagle on the 16th hole but followed it with a double bogey on the 17th, ending the day with a score of 70, trailing the leaders by eight shots.
McIlroy commented on his performance, saying, “I’m trying to think of the last time I made a double bogey, it’s been a few months and I’ve prided myself on really limiting my mistakes.” Despite the setback, McIlroy remains optimistic, acknowledging the potential for low scores on the course.
Lowry, who clinched victory at the Irish Open in 2009 as an amateur, expressed his eagerness for the upcoming weekend. He noted that expectations in sports could be challenging but emphasized the importance of staying focused and letting his natural abilities shine through.
Sharma, who delivered a spectacular performance with nine single putts, expressed his satisfaction, saying, “I had nine single putts which was amazing, I don’t think I’ve done that before.” He attributed his success to flawless putting and a positive mindset.
The 27-year-old golfer, who secured his first DP World Tour title in 2017, is eager to return to the winner’s circle after a gap and believes that maintaining a positive mindset will be crucial.
Sharma and Smith lead the tournament by one shot, with England’s Ross Fisher closely trailing behind. Fisher delivered impressive consecutive rounds of 66. Germany’s Hurly Long and Scotland’s Calum Hill also performed admirably, standing at 11 under par and one stroke back, respectively. Hill’s remarkable round featured three eagles in just seven holes, demonstrating his exceptional skills.
As the Horizon Irish Open reaches its climax, golf enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the thrilling performances that lie ahead on this challenging and captivating course.