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Shane Lowry gets right back in the Open mix with brilliant 65

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Far from being hopelessly cast adrift, Shane Lowry steered his own course to remain very much on the fringes of contention in his quest to retain the Claret Jug.

While midway leader Louis Oosthuizen at one point seemed set to race away from the field, those in pursuit will believe that he has not moved beyond their reach: the smooth-swinging Springbok reached the midpoint of this 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s in a record low 36-holes total of 11-under-par 129, adding a 65 to his opening 64, to be two shots clear of American Collin Morikawa.

But, on a day when the links was bathed in sunshine and with the wind slipping to a breeze and then barely nothing at all, players took full advantage in a birdie fest that was ably joined by Lowry – one of three Irish players to survive the cut – who, in his defence of the title, shot a second round 65 for 136, to be seven shots behind in tied-17th position.

Pádraig Harrington, too, again displayed his fighting prowess; so, too, Rory McIlroy. Harrington carded a 68 and McIlroy a second successive 70 to each survive on level-par 140. But Darren Clarke, teary eyed as he holed out on the 18th where 10 years ago he savoured the greatest triumph of his career, missed the cut.

For Lowry, so hard on himself after his first round, which led to further work on the range with his coach Neil Manchip and some soul searching, the body language was once more at ease with the challenge in a second round that saw him use the driver only four times and utilise a hotter putter to good effect with an impressive footage of putts to move stubbornly upwards.

A visual sign of his more upbeat mood came on the course, as his fist bumps with caddie Bo Martin were conducted with regularity and accompanying smiles from the two who soldiered together so brilliantly in claiming the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush in 2019.

The Irishman’s defence may have been put on hold for two years but, in the southeastern corner of England, Lowry – encouraged by the galleries and feeding off the exploits of playing partners Oosthuizen and Jon Rahm as much as they fed off him – clicked into a higher gear and with the prospect of again shifting further over the weekend in his bid to play catch-up.

Lowry went out on the cut line and assuredly moved upward in a second round where he played intelligently and strategically. He hit 12 of 14 fairways and found 14 of 18 greens in regulation. He seemed at home in his own skin and the result was a 65 that conceivably could have been even a stroke or two better so good was his game.

Darren Clarke salutes the crowd as he walks up to the 18th green. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Darren Clarke salutes the crowd as he walks up to the 18th green. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

After his first round, Lowry had spent time on the range. In the morning prior to the second round, his “chat” with Manchip was revisited. “I felt I was a bit hard on myself, I didn’t play as bad as I felt I did. So I just trusted myself to go out there and shoot a good score,” he said.

With a grin, he recalled hitting his opening tee shot of the second round about “40 yards right” in one of only four uses of the driver. “I thought I had it fixed,” he quipped, although the primary club of choice for much of the round proved to be his 3-iron on terrain that grew firmer as the day progressed.

Playing in a three-ball with Oosthuizen and US Open champion Rahm, Lowry admitted: “You kind of bounce off each other, it does help whenever one in the group is playing well. And when you’re playing with someone who is leading the tournament it does spur you on to try and catch them. I was out there trying to get as many shots as I could back on Louis towards the end because I knew he was going to be the leader going into the weekend.”

Harrington moved from outside the cut line to inside it, with a fine 68 for 140 that moved him alongside McIlroy in tied-53rd position. “There is a low one in me. But I’d need at least two of them, two big ones,” said Harrington in emphasising that simply making the cut hasn’t enabled him to reach his goal.

McIlroy birdied the 18th for a second straight day for successive 70s and, although 11 shots behind the leader, has focused on his own game. “[I’m] not even [looking] at the leaderboard. I just try to play a good solid round of golf tomorrow . . . you go out and you play golf and you try to play as best you can, and that’s it,” he said.

Leaderboard

British and Irish unless stated, par 70, (a) denotes amateur
129
Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 64 65

131 Collin Morikawa (USA) 67 64

132 Jordan Spieth (USA) 65 67

133 Dustin Johnson (USA) 68 65, Scottie Scheffler (USA) 67 66, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 66 67

134 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 70 64, Justin Harding (Rsa) 67 67, Andy Sullivan 67 67, Daniel van Tonder (Rsa) 68 66, Marcel Siem (Ger) 67 67

135 Paul Casey 68 67, Mackenzie Hughes (Can) 66 69, Brooks Koepka (USA) 69 66, Jon Rahm (Esp) 71 64, Cameron Tringale (USA) 69 66

136 Corey Conners (Can) 68 68, Tony Finau (USA) 70 66, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 68 68, Brian Harman (USA) 65 71, Shane Lowry 71 65, Cameron Smith (Aus) 69 67, Brandt Snedeker (USA) 68 68, Danny Willett 67 69

137 Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 67 70, Daniel Berger (USA) 70 67, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 70 67, Joel Dahmen (USA) 69 68, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 68 69, Justin Rose 67 70

138 Tommy Fleetwood 67 71, Ian Poulter 72 66, Chez Reavie (USA) 72 66, Webb Simpson (USA) 66 72, Jonathan Thomson 71 67, Johannes Veerman (USA) 70 68, Matt Wallace 70 68, Lee Westwood 71 67, Jack Senior 67 71

139 Max Homa (USA) 70 69, Billy Horschel (USA) 70 69, Viktor Hovland (Nor) 68 71, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 70 69, Chan Kim (USA) 70 69, Kevin Kisner (USA) 70 69, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 69 70, Aaron Rai 70 69, (a) Matthias Schmid (Ger) 74 65, Adam Scott (Aus) 73 66, Kevin Streelman (USA) 70 69, Justin Thomas (USA) 72 67, Lanto Griffin (USA) 69 70

140 Abraham Ancer (Mex) 69 71, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 68 72, Richard Bland 70 70, Sam Burns (USA) 71 69, Harris English (USA) 75 65, Matthew Fitzpatrick 71 69, Pádraig Harrington 72 68, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 66 74, Jason Kokrak (USA) 70 70, Rory McIlroy 70 70, Xander Schauffele (USA) 69 71, Sam Horsfield 70 70

141 Marcus Armitage 69 72, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 71 70, Rickie Fowler (USA) 69 72, Talor Gooch (USA) 69 72, Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn) 72 69, (a) Yuxin Lin (Chn) 69 72, Robert MacIntyre 72 69, Richard Mansell 72 69, J. C. Ritchie (Rsa) 71 70, Antoine Rozner (Fra) 70 71, Poom Saksansin (Tha) 73 68, Brendan Steele (USA) 73 68, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 71 70

Missed cut

142 Keegan Bradley (USA) 71 71, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 72 70, Tyrrell Hatton 72 70, Russell Henley (USA) 70 72, Takumi Kanaya (Jpn) 70 72, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 72 70, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 74 68, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 69 73, Chris Kirk (USA) 68 74, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 71 71, Marc Leishman (Aus) 75 67, Guido Migliozzi (Ita) 69 73, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 74, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 73 69, Ryutaro Nagano (Jpn) 70 72, Ryan Palmer (USA) 72 70, Victor Perez (Fra) 70 72, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 71 71, Harold Varner III (USA) 70 72, Jimmy Walker (USA) 70 72

143 Rafael Cabrera Bello (Esp) 70 73, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 74 69, Stewart Cink (USA) 66 77, Branden Grace (Rsa) 72 71, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 70 73, Daniel Hillier (Nzl) 72 71, Charley Hoffman (USA) 72 71, Matt Jones (Aus) 72 71, Troy Merritt (USA) 73 70, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 72 71, Patrick Reed (USA) 72 71, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 71 72, (a) Laird Shepherd 74 69, Brendon Todd (USA) 72 71, Erik van Rooyen (Rsa) 69 74, Gary Woodland (USA) 73 70, Min-Woo Lee (Aus) 74 69

144 John Catlin (USA) 75 69, Ricardo Celia (Col) 72 72, Ernie Els (Rsa) 72 72, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 71 73, Adam Hadwin (Can) 75 69, Richard T. Lee (Can) 75 69, Haotong Li (Chn) 75 69, Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 75 69, Keith Mitchell (USA) 68 76, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 73 71

145 Jason Day (Aus) 75 70, Lucas Glover (USA) 75 70, Brad Kennedy (Aus) 71 74, Alexander Noren (Swe) 74 71, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 75 70

146 Darren Clarke 71 75, (a) Cole Hammer (USA) 75 71, Matt Kuchar (USA) 74 72, (a) Joe Long 73 73, Thomas Detry (Bel) 72 74, Rikuya Hoshino (Jpn) 74 72

147 Jaco Ahlers (Rsa) 68 79, (a) Sam Bairstow 75 72, (a) Christoffer Bring (Den) 72 75, Romain Langasque (Fra) 74 73, Joost Luiten (Ned) 76 71, Chengtsung Pan (Tai) 71 76

148 Garrick Higgo (Rsa) 73 75, Nicholas Poppleton 75 73, Paul Waring 72 76

149 (a) Abel Gallegos (Arg) 73 76, Ben Hutchinson 77 72, Aaron Pike (Aus) 74 75, Marcel Schneider (Ger) 73 76, Adam Long (USA) 72 77

150 Sam Forgan 73 77, Connor Worsdall 77 73

152 Phil Mickelson (USA) 80 72

154 Daniel Croft 76 78

156 Yuki Inamori (Jpn) 75 81

157 Deyen Lawson (Aus) 80 77

Saturday tee-times

9:20 Yuxin Lin (Chn)
9:30 Talor Gooch (USA), Bryson DeChambeau (USA)
9:40 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Richard Mansell
9:50 J C Ritchie (Rsa), Marcus Armitage

10:00 Poom Saksansin (Tha), Ryosuke Kinoshita (Jpn)
10:10 Antoine Rozner (Fra), Rickie Fowler (USA)
10:20 Brendan Steele (USA), Robert MacIntyre
10:30 Harris English (USA), Sam Burns (USA)
10:40 Jason Kokrak (USA), Abraham Ancer (Mex)
10:50 Sam Horsfield , Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa)

11:05 Rory McIlroy , Richard Bland
11:15 Xander Schauffele (USA), Benjamin Hebert (Fra)
11:25 Pádraig Harrington , Matthew Fitzpatrick
11:35 Kevin Streelman (USA), Lanto Griffin (USA)
11:45 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Viktor Hovland (Nor)
11:55 Chan Kim (USA), Max Homa (USA)

12:05 Justin Thomas (USA), Adam Scott (Aus)
12:15 Kevin Kisner (USA), Billy Horschel (USA)
12:25 Matthias Schmid (Ger), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)
12:35 Chez Reavie (USA), Aaron Rai
12:50 Lee Westwood , Jonathan Thomson
13:00 Jack Senior , Ian Poulter

13:10 Webb Simpson (USA), Tommy Fleetwood
13:20 Matt Wallace , Johannes Veerman (USA)
13:30 Sergio Garcia (Esp), Byeong-Hun An (Kor)
13:40 Justin Rose , Joel Dahmen (USA)
13:50 Dean Burmester (Rsa), Daniel Berger (USA)

14:00 Brandt Snedeker (USA), Shane Lowry
14:10 Danny Willett , Brian Harman (USA)
14:20 Cameron Smith (Aus), Corey Conners (Can)
14:35 Ryan Fox (Nzl), Tony Finau (USA)
14:45 Cameron Tringale (USA), Jon Rahm (Esp)
14:55 Brooks Koepka (USA), Mackenzie Hughes (Can)

15:05 Justin Harding (Rsa), Paul Casey
15:15 Marcel Siem (Ger), Andy Sullivan
15:25 Daniel van Tonder (Rsa), Emiliano Grillo (Arg)
15:35 Scottie Scheffler (USA), Dustin Johnson (USA)
15:45 Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Jordan Spieth (USA)
15:55 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Collin Morikawa (USA)

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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

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Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

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Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.



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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

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House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites myhome.ie and daft.ie, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.

Price

This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.

Soure: MyHome.ie

“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.

Homes

Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”


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