SHANE LOWRY AND Robert Karlsson both fired eight birdies in blemish-free 64s for a share of the clubhouse lead midway through Friday’s second round of the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren.
The 43-year-old Swede Karlsson carded a remarkable six birdies from the sixth hole and stood at eight-under after 11 holes, just two off the all-time European Tour record of eight in a row.
After starting quickly with gains at the first two holes Karlsson parred in from the 12th, where he missed a makeable birdie putt, to finish at eight-under par for the round and nine-under for the championship with a sumptuous 64.
A few minutes earlier Ireland’s Lowry, who celebrated his first win on the tour in Portugal a fortnight ago, had holed out for a par four on 18 for his 64.
The likeable 25-year-old, who won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009, admitted he celebrated “a bit too hard” after his maiden pro win at Vilamoura, but was pleased he has carried the momentum of that week through to China.
Lowry, whose own birdie blitz encompassed four straight holes from the 13th, said he never doubted that elusive first win would finally come along, and paid tribute to his caddie Dermot Byrne for his unflinching support.
“Dermot never had any doubts and always said to me, ‘this is going to be the best year we’ve ever had’,” Lowry told AFP.
And to be honest, I didn’t believe him. But you know it is the best year I have had.
World number one Rory McIlroy, starting the day at five under par, picked up four birdies to reach the turn in 32 and join Karlsson and Lowry on nine-under with the back nine still to play.
Overnight leader Jamie Donaldson, who shot a course record 10-under 62 on Thursday, dropped two shots to be eight under at the turn but his playing partner, Ryder Cup player Peter Hanson, picked up four strokes to lead at 10 under halfway through his round.