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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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What changes about life in Italy in October 2021?

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Some of these changes are confirmed, others still speculative, but each of the following may have an impact on your life in Italy soon. 

Here’s what we can expect in the coming weeks.

Oct 1st: Electricity and gas prices rise

The Italian government has stepped in to limit a steep rise in energy prices in the next quarter, after a 40 percent increase was predicted.

While this means bills won’t rise quite so sharply for Italian businesses and families, energy costs are still set to rise.

Electricity prices are expected to increase by up to 20 percent for those who do not fall into the lowest income brackets, according to Italian media reports, while a smaller rise is expected for gas bills.

READ ALSO: Italy to spend €3bn on keeping household energy bills down as prices soar across Europe

The precise figures won’t be known until the tariff for the upcoming quarter is published by Italy’s energy regulatory authority Arera, by the end of September.

The government’s measures will keep additional costs at zero for those least well-off, including households with an income under 8,265 euros, families with at least 4 dependent children with an income of less than 20,000 euros, those who receive a state pension or unemployment benefit, and people who are seriously ill, Sky TG24 reports.

The government funds will also cut the ‘general charge’ from gas bills for all throughout the last quarter of 2021, and on electricity for families and some small businesses.

Oct 1st: Italy-UK travel rule changes

People planning to travel to the UK from Italy or elsewhere in Europe from this month should note some changes to the entry rules.

From October 1st, due to a Brexit-related rule change the vast majority of EU citizens can no longer travel into the UK using an ID card; only passports are acceptable. Full details HERE.

As for Covid-related restrictions, vaccinated travellers from Europe will no longer have to take pre-departure tests when heading to England from Monday, October 4th.

Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

New Covid restrictions – and a vaccine mandate?

In the coming days, the Italian government is expected to release details of its next decree updating Covid-related rules and restrictions within the country. 

Travel rules will not be included in this update – the next review of restrictions on most non-EU countries will come on October 25th (see below).

It looks likely that the maximum allowed capacity at stadiums, cinemas and theatres will increase after the government’s scientific advisory panel gave the all-clear to plans on Wednesday,

Stadiums will be able to sell tickets up to 75% of their full capacity, compared to 50% at the moment, while cinemas and theatres will be allowed to go up to 80%, according to news agency Ansa.

There will be no capacity restrictions for museums, although they will be obliged to make sure social distancing is respected.

All venues will only be allowed to admit customers with the green pass.

The Italian government is also considering whether to make vaccinations mandatory for more groups if it decides the rate of vaccination in the country is too low, and says it will make a decision by the beginning of October.

Vaccination coverage is one of the key factors the health ministry will take into account when deciding on any upcoming changes to the coronavirus restrictions.

Italy is tantalisingly close to reaching the government’s stated target of having 80 percent of the population fully immunised by September 30th – with some regions doing better than others.

Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Oct 15th: Green pass requirement at all workplaces

This is the most important change to be aware of this month if you work in Italy.

From October 15th, the next extension of Italy’s green pass scheme will require all employees across the public and private sectors to show that they are vaccinated, recovered or have proof of a recent negative coronavirus test uding the country’s green pass health certificate.

Unvaccinated workers without medical exemptions will need to take regular tests at their own expense unless their workplace decides to provide them for free.

Employees who fail to produce a pass face penalties of between €600 and €1,500, and salaries can be frozen from the first day that they arrive at work without the certificate. Employers are subject to fines of between €400 and €1,000 for failing to uphold the rules.

Find more details about how the rules will work in practice here.

Oct 15th. Some people are allowed to switch their heating on

You read that right. Italy has restrictions on when (and how much) you’re allowed to heat your home, and the first places to be allowed to crank up the thermostat are northern and mountainous parts of the country, starting from mid-October.

Italy is divided into several categories depending on when authorities think it’s appropriate to turn the heating on in each area.

Those in the balmier coastal areas in places like Sicily and Calabria are last to be permitted to flick the switch on December 1st. Find out when you can turn your heating on here.

Photo: GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP

Oct 15th: New national airline ITA takes off

This is also the date that Italy’s new flag carrier ITA, replacing long-struggling Alitalia, will begin operating and selling tickets.

Alitalia will cease operating on October 14th and the company has confirmed that customers with bookings after that date can rebook or get a refund.

Oct 25th: Italy to review rules on travel from the US and Canada

Towards the end of the month, we’ll be keeping an eye on possible changes to the Covid-related rules on travel from ‘D-list’ countries including the US and Canada, with Italy’s current set of rules for arrivals from these countries in force until October 25th.

Oct 31st: Don’t forget to change your clocks

At 3am on Sunday, October 31st, the clocks will go back by one hour marking the end of summer time.



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IRFU must shoulder some blame for state of women’s rugby in Ireland

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Watching the distressed female Irish players trying to console each other after Saturday’s heartbreaking, last-ditch defeat by Scotland in Parma which wrenched World Cup qualification aspirations from their grasp made for a very uncomfortable, almost invasive, watch. It was a relief when the RTÉ cameras panned back to the studio.

Watching Sene Naoupu embracing a tearful Ciara Griffin, it’s a wonder that Naoupu had kept her own emotions under control. Representing Ireland at a World Cup in her native New Zealand would have been such a fitting finale to her stellar career.

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Q&A: Can foreigners become civil servants in Spain?

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For many Spaniards, landing a stable, paper-pushing civil servant position is the dream.

They know it’s not going to be exciting or to make them rich but they see funcionario work as ‘a job for life’ in a country where the unemployment level is notoriously high and much of the job market is based on temporary summer positions in tourism.

They also like the fact that civil servant jobs pay a decent salary compared with the national average and often work fewer hours too.

Funcionario positions in Public Administration, Social Security and Defense were paid an average of €29,580 gross per year in 2020.

This is higher than the national average gross salary of €24,395 per year, according to stats released by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE), although that’s not to say some civil servants get paid considerably less than the above mentioned salary.  

So, if jobs in the civil service are so popular then how can you get one as a foreigner?

Can foreigners in Spain get civil service jobs?

The main answer is yes, you can get a job in the civil service in Spain as a foreigner, however, there are a few requirements.

Those eligible for civil servant jobs in Spain include EU nationals and those who are married to Spanish or EU nationals. You must currently be married and not divorced.

Children of EU nationals who are eligible to work in Spain (over 16 years old) and who are under 21 can also apply, as can those who are over 21 but who are financially dependent on their parents.

Third-country nationals with work and residence permits in Spain may also apply for civil service jobs.

READ ALSO: How can non-EU nationals bring family members to live in Spain?

Does this apply to all jobs in the civil service?  

No, the only jobs that foreigners can’t apply for and that you must have Spanish nationality for are those which “directly or indirectly imply participation in the exercise of public power or in the safeguarding of the general interests of the State and Public Administrations” according to the Spanish government.

What qualifications do I need?  

While some civil service jobs in Spain require a university degree, there are several that don’t.

Whatever types of qualifications you have, however, will have to go through the homologación (recognition) process so that it’s validated and accepted in Spain. Keep in mind that this can take months, and for non-EU qualification holders even longer.

You may also be required to show other proof and certificates.

According to the Spanish government: “This requirement will not apply to applicants who have obtained recognition of their professional qualification in the field of regulated professions, under the provisions of Community law”.

It also goes without saying that you will need a high level of Spanish to get a job as a civil servant and you may need certificates to prove this too. If you’re trying to get a job in Catalonia for example, you may also be required to know Catalan, as well as Spanish. 

What are oposiciones?

Oposiciones are the entrance exams you’ll need to sit to become a civil servant in Spain. Each type of position will have its own requirements, some easier and some harder, which involve a series of exams to test your abilities and suitability.

Some positions may require practical exams, while others such as for the police force will require a physical test. 

READ ALSO – Not just English teaching: The jobs you can do in Spain without speaking Spanish

Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

Is there anything that will prevent me from getting a civil servant job in Spain?

Yes, foreigners should not have received disciplinary action or been fired from similar roles in public service in their own countries.

Also, those who are applying for jobs where they will be in contact with children may have to show a police check from their home country to prove that their record is clean.

READ ALSO: What are the types of work contracts in Spain and which one is the best?

What are the advantages of being a civil servant in Spain?

  • A decent salary
  • You have the right to take holiday days in addition to personal days off
  • Your social security is automatically deducted, giving you healthcare and pension rights
  • It’s a stable job that you are less likely to be made redundant from
  • You have the possibility of transferring to different departments

READ ALSO: The downsides of moving to Spain for work

What are the disadvantages of being a civil servant in Spain?

  • It’s a big investment in time and effort to get a job as a civil servant
  • The need for qualifications, extra tests, and exams
  • The extensive number of requirements and paperwork that needs to be filled out
  • Complicated systems as well as old-fashioned and bureaucratic work models
  • Monotonous work, where you’re unlikely to face new challenges
  • Little to no opportunities for remote employment



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