Shane Lowry recovered from a poor start to maintain his Abu Dhabi Championship lead at the halfway point.

The overnight leader dropped shots on his second and third holes of the day but subsequently added four birdies to finish with a two-under 70 that leaves him on 12-under overall, one shot clear of South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen.

Paul Dunne carded a second consecutive 73 and missed the cut on two-over-par.


Offaly man Lowry, who equaled the course record with yesterday’s round of 62, cut a frustrated figure as he bogeyed two of the first three holes and briefly lost the lead to Lee Westwood, who finished on ten-under-par.

Ian Poulter, Tom Lewis, Scott Jamieson and Soren Kjeldsen are a shot further back on nine under.

Lowry soon cancelled out those blips with birdies on five and the par-three seven.

The 31-year-old, ranked 75 in the world, picked up two more strokes on the back nine, both coming on the par-three holes, 12 and 15.

"I’m pretty happy with that," he told Sky Sports.

"I knew today was going to be a bit of a weird day after shooting such a good score yesterday.

"But for the start I really feel like I played pretty good today. I think I gave myself a lot of chances, I didn’t really hole that much. I didn’t birdie any of the par-fives.

"Some of the shots I hit early on were pretty horrendous so to battle back and hit some really nice shots out there, and hit some in close and make some birdies, I was happy with myself."

Lowry was also pleased with his iron play, which has yielded six birdies from eight par-three holes over the two rounds. 

"I feel good," he added, "I feel like I can hit draws and fades pretty much on the number that I am trying to hit most of the time. My swing is feeling pretty good.

"If anything I'd like if I was like that with the driver a little bit more." 

In a field containing three-time major winner Brooks Koepka and former world number one Dustin Johnson, Lowry was understandably delighted to be right in the mix. 

"Just look at the names that are behind me, it's great," he said.

"I'm going out for a knock with Louis tomorrow. I'll enjoy that and hopefully I can go out and put on a good show."