sport

Lowry and Bjorn share lead

Ireland's Shane Lowry shot a second round 70 to join Thomas Bjorn at the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The pair are four shots clear of England's Luke Donald (67) and Rafael Cagrera-Bello of Spain (73).

Lowry is languishing down in 165th place in the Race to Dubai but the 27-year-old from Mullingar has found his form so far in testing wet and windy conditions this week.

Lowry won the Irish Open in bad weather as an amateur in 2009 and is a big fan of Wentworth, finishing fourth here in 2011 and 12th last year.

"I was good out there today," said Lowry, whose best finish of the season was a share of 15th in the Spanish Open last week. "I was mentally there and really enjoyed it.

"It was tough for the front nine with the rain and stuff but it was a nice back nine and I managed to take advantage of it."

Bjorn had set a new course record with his opening 62 and was pleased to recover from two over par after seven holes on Friday to return a 72, three better than playing partner Stephen Gallacher managed as the Scot fell away to one over for the week.

"Those were tough conditions for everybody out there today," the 43-year-old Dane said. "Especially on the front nine it was extremely difficult to get into a rhythm.

"We played those first four holes in I don't know how long, and we had a couple of rulings in front of us. It was just impossible to find a good rhythm and Retief (Goosen) left us with a back injury after five holes, so we got caught in a two-ball.

"It just seems like all day we were waiting and waiting for a long time on a lot of these shots. It was a tough ask today so I was pretty pleased with the way I finished the round."

Bjorn birdied two of the last four holes to finish where he started the day, on 10 under, with Lowry recovering from a double-bogey six on the ninth with birdies on the 10th, 12th, 17th and 18th.

Run of threes

Former world No 1 Donald carded six birdies and an eagle after the weather improved in late afternoon, with a run of five threes in succession from the eighth culminating in an eagle on the 12th.

Earlier in the day, Rory McIlroy went from flirting with a third consecutive missed cut in this event to a place inside the top 10.

A front nine of 38 left the two-time major champion just a shot outside the projected cut mark, but he eagled the 12th for the second day running and added birdies at three of the last four holes for a 71.

McIlroy announced on Wednesday that he had called off his planned November wedding to former world No 1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, even though the invitations had just been sent out.

"I was apprehensive going out yesterday, I honestly didn't know what to expect and it was good I had the quick turnaround to get back on the golf course," the 25-year-old said.

"I have exceeded my expectations so far. Once you get inside the ropes you are concentrating on your golf and it's almost a nice four or five-hour release to concentrate on the job at hand.

"I stood here yesterday saying that I would be happy to make the cut and I'm in for the weekend, which is nice. Hopefully I can make a run at it. I feel like I'm playing well enough to shoot something in the mid 60s and get myself in the mix going into Sunday."