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Shane Lowry stalks leader at Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Updated: Saturday, 28 Sep 2013 20:55 | Comments

Shane Lowry pictured teeing off on the 13th hole at Carnoustie
Shane Lowry pictured teeing off on the 13th hole at Carnoustie

Ireland’s Shane Lowry is just two shots off the lead at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship after equalling the course record at Carnoustie with a round of 64.

Lowry, who holed out with a five iron from 225 yards for an eagle two on the 17th, was playing with Australian Richard Green - who happens to own a share of the course record.

Peter Uihlein leads the event played at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews.

Twenty-four hours after needing an eagle on the last hole to shoot a historic 59, Uihlein produced one at St Andrews to claim a two-shot buffer.

The American narrowly missed his eagle putt on the ninth at Kingsbarns on Friday and had to settle for recording the 17th round of 60 in European Tour history, but Saturday’s finish on the Old Course was stunning.

The 24-year-old's pitch from 47 yards plunged straight into the hole for an eagle two to complete a 65 and 20-under-par total.

Uihlein was only one under after an opening 71 at Carnoustie but has played his last 36 holes in 19 under, eclipsing the previous record of 18 under set by Thomas Aiken in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in 2009.

However, with scoring conditions again perfect, that was only good enough to lead by two from Lowry, Ernie Els, David Howell, Joost Luiten, Martin Kaymer and Richard McEvoy.

England's Paul Casey also equalled the course record at St Andrews with a 62, although he was seven off the lead on 13 under.

"It was not quite what I was trying to do but it worked out," Uihlein said of the final shot on his first competitive round on the Old Course.

"I carried it a bit too far but got a bit lucky and it's pretty sweet, a cool finish and a great way to sign off.

"I felt I missed quite a few putts coming down the stretch so it makes up for it a little."

Uihlein won his first European Tour title in Madeira in May and finished second in the Wales Open recently, letting slip a three-shot lead going into the final round at Celtic Manor.

"I don't know if it gets easier but the more you do it the more comfortable you get," he added.

After his round, Lowry revealed: "I didn't know what the record was but Richard told me in the scorers' hut afterwards.

“But any score under par at Carnoustie is usually good so I am delighted with eight under.

"I knew I needed a good score to have any chance and didn't think I was going to shoot 64. I didn't see the eagle go in but my dad was watching and he let me know pretty quickly!"

Els has twice been part of winning Dunhill Cup teams for South Africa at St Andrews, but would love to win an individual title tomorrow - especially after making the cut in the pro-am event with his father Neels.

"I needed a change," admitted the former Open champion - who will compete for the International Team in next week's Presidents Cup - after his 64 at St Andrews.

"I've been in a bit of a rut playing in the FedEx Cup in the States, playing week to week and kind of going brain dead. You don't know exactly what you're playing for.

"To come here and play with my dad, who turned 70 this year, at these beautiful links courses makes a change and that's what I needed. It would mean a great deal to win this event especially with our close connection with (tournament promoter) Johann Rupert and his family. I've come close quite a few times and I feel I need to get my name on that trophy.

"I'm in a great position but there's a lot of guys in there. It will be a great shootout tomorrow, depending on the weather. If it's like this, it will be amazing."

Howell went one better than Els with a 63 at St Andrews and would also love to lift the trophy on Sunday after seven years without a victory.

"I'm in the mix again and that's all you can keep doing," said Howell, who held off playing partner Tiger Woods to win the HSBC Champions in 2006. "Tomorrow might be my day, it might not.

"But if I keep putting myself in with a chance to win I'm sure some silverware will come my way, and it will be a real thrill when it does."

In contrast to Howell, Luiten has won twice already this season - including the KLM Open on home soil in the Netherlands - and received some potentially crucial advice from playing partner Paul McGinley during his 68.

"I do want to play in America but I don't know whether that's going be next year or later in my career because it would be all new courses to learn," the 27-year-old said.

"The Ryder Cup is on my mind and Paul said it might be better to focus on the European Tour to try to win a couple more times to qualify for the Ryder Cup."

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