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Shane Lowry provided a fascinating insight into how to combat strong winds after the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Chjampionship was lashed by near-40mph gusts.
The 2019 Open champion is renowned as a brilliant bad-weather golfer, and showed it again as a level-par 72 saw him gain ground on most of the field as the average score soared. Lowry reckoned he should have gone lower, but was willing to give himself a pass after putting the clubs away for nearly six weeks following the DP World tour Championship.
Playing partner Ian Poulter also hung tough with a 72, and Lowry commented: "I was saying to Poults coming down the last hole that later on in the season I would have expected to have been at least a couple of shots lower.
"The wind was blowing at a steady 30 miles an hour, and someone said they recorded a gust of 38 when we were on the ninth hole. So it was hard going, by any standards.
"I know I've got this reputation as someone who thrives in these conditions, but let me say straight away that I don't enjoy them - I just know how to play them. I played OK, no better than that. I feel like I didn't really have my A-game in the wind today that I normally would.
"I hit some loose shots that generally would be better but it was just so tough out there, so tough, every part of it. Putting was probably the hardest thing, but yeah, on reflection, I'm absolutely thrilled with 72 to be honest.
"I heard some of the commentators were saying this was a 'Shane Lowry day'. But I don't love it. Because it's in the wind, I think about it a lot less and I just hit the shots and I just hit the shots I see. That's what makes me so good in the wind I think. I just kind of play with a lot of feel.
"And when you're playing into the wind, I think you just need to make sure you're taking a little bit off your swing speed. I nudge the ball back a little bit in my stance. I tee it up the same height with my driver but I just really feel like I'm trying to trap it and trying to hit down on it with less speed because if you hit down on it with too much speed, it will just spin up.
"I hit a few nice drives, low draws there today and it was pretty good. I just aimed it right and back in my stance a little bit and just kind of sort of 85 per cent swing, and swing through."
Lowry's comment that putting was the most difficult part of golf in these conditions would have been echoed by first-round leader Scott Jamieson.
He teed off in the second round three shots clear of the field at nine-under, and was still two ahead playing his tenth hole - the first - only to FOUR putt from 35 feet for a double bogey.
Jamieson retains lead, McIlroy and Morikawa scrape through
Conditions dominated proceedings on day two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as strong winds rolled in sent scores soaring.
With some players yet to finish, first-round leader Scott Jamieson will go to bed in possession of a one-shot advantage after posting a two-over 74. However, he faces stiff competition with the likes of Viktor Hovland, Ian Poulter and Shane Lowry all within striking distance.
At the other end, the battle to make the cut promises to go down to the wire. Sitting on that number are Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy who birdied the last to give himself a chance of being around for the weekend.
Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Leaderboard
-7 Scott Jamieson (F)
-6 Viktor Hovland (F), Ian Poulter (F), James Morrison (14)
-5 Thomas Pieters (F), Shane Lowry (F)
-2 Adam Scott (F)
-1 Tyrrell Hatton (F)
E Tommy Fleetwood (F)
+1 Lee Westwood (F)
+3 Collin Morikawa (F), Rory McIlroy (F)
David brings a wealth of experience to Golf Monthly as a freelance contributor having spent more than two decades covering the game as The Sun's golf correspondent. Prior to that, he worked as a sports reporter for the Daily Mail. David has covered the last 12 Ryder Cups and every Masters tournament since 1999. A popular and highly-respected name in the press tents around the world, David has built close relationships with many of the game's leading players and officials.