MARANA, Ariz. – Graeme McDowell won money from Shane Lowry in practice this week. They’re playing again Saturday, but with a spot in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship’s quarterfinals on the line.
Lowry already has faced a major champion from Northern Ireland this week, beating World No. 1 Rory McIlroy in the first round. Now Lowry, of Ireland, faces another friend, dinner companion and practice partner in McDowell.
Lowry said he had trouble sleeping in the aftermath of his 1-up victory over McIlroy on Thursday, which Lowry clinched with a 4-foot par putt in the dark. He’ll have plenty of time to rest after needing just 13 holes to beat Carl Pettersson, 6 and 5, in Friday’s second round. Lowry is the first No. 64 seed to advance to the third round. He called his second-round play, “some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time.”
McDowell has beaten one Irishman this week, eliminating Padraig Harrington, 2 up, in the first round before bettering Alexander Noren in 20 holes Friday. Lowry may be the lowest-seeded player in the field, but McDowell won’t be lulled by rankings.
“I always think that Shane has got three or four of the qualities that are required to be a great player,” McDowell said. “I think he drives the ball well, he’s got a phenomenal short game and he’s got guts.”
Lowry has proved that this week, but faces another tough test in the third round.