Lowry leads by one

Shane Lowry tops the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the star-studded ISPS Handa Wales Open.

The Irishman carded a six under 65 to earn a one stroke lead over first round leader Joost Luiten and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts at Celtic Manor on Friday.

Lowry’s flawless round saw him card a steady stream of birdies and his iron-play was sublime, as he played the par three’s two under for the round.

“I’m pretty happy…I’ve never, ever done well here before, so to be leading after two rounds is nice,” quipped the 27-year-old on european.com.

“There is still a long way to go in the tournament but I’m really looking forward to the weekend. I didn’t drive it that good yesterday but still shot a decent score. I drove it a lot better today, drove it a lot straighter and gave myself a lot of chances and rolled in a few putts, so it was nice.

“I felt like coming over that I could give it a go this week. I was around tenth going into the back nine on Sunday last week, and similar the week before in Switzerland. If I can get myself in a good position come the back nine this weekend, again, hopefully I can give it a go.”

Thongchai Jaidee and Edoardo Molinari are two strokes behind, while 23-time European Tour winner Lee Westwood recovered from a opening 73 with a 69.

“I needed a couple more rounds,” added the former world number one.

“I was not particularly competitive yesterday, it was pretty scratchy, but today was more solid. A few iffy shots but it was nice to finish with two birdies in the last four holes to ensure being here for the weekend and two more competitive rounds.

“I have been working on my game and been in the gym quite a lot, but I’m not quite match fit. I had three weeks off and you lose your sharpness.”