PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Ireland’s Shane Lowry proved to be the master of the Dunluce links for the second successive day to move into a share of the halfway lead with American JB Holmes at the Open Championship on Friday.
But there was a bittersweet exit for Rory McIlroy, who missed the cut despite bouncing back from his nightmare first-round 79 with an excellent 65.
McIlroy will miss out on the weekend along with Tiger Woods, who shot a one-under 70, but still ended six-over for his two rounds.
A flurry of birdies early in a sizzling outward nine of 31 looked like giving the 32-year-old Lowry from across the border the outright lead.
But a bogey at the 18th left him on eight-under after successive rounds of 67.
Westwood, 46, has had to wait a lot longer for his first major, having had 18 top-10 finishes, but never a victory.
But with his girlfriend on his bag, he rolled back the years with a brilliant round, including a 65-foot birdie at the 16th.
“There’s too much ground to cover before Sunday night. There’s a long way to go in this tournament,” Westwood said.
Koepka suffered a cool day with the putter, but was happy to be in the pack.
“Right where I want to be, and close enough to make a run this weekend,” the four-time major winner said.
Late in the day, all eyes turned to local favourite McIlroy, who produced a thrilling counter-attack in a bid to make the cut after his sorry 79 on Thursday.
McIlroy hit three straight birdies after the turn, but a bogey on the par-three 13th disrupted his momentum.
A birdie on the 16th offered a glimmer of hope, but he failed to get back the stroke he needed, wasting an excellent fairway position on the 18th as he missed the green to the left, leaving himself too much to do.