Date: July 21, 2019
Author: Justin Falconer at Royal Portrush

Shane shows out in ‘home’ Open

Shane Lowry described it as one of the best days of his career and a quick glance at a leaderboard or a peek at the nightly news highlights package will tell you why.

After starting the day level with JB Holmes, Lowry blew the American off the golf course with a stunning 63 and some of the loudest roars ever heard on the North Coast.

Lowry notched eight birdies for the day – with a chance at a ninth and an historic round of 62 on the 18th – to earn the lowest 54-hole total at The Open and a four-stroke buffer over the field at 16-under.

“Honestly, that's the most incredible day I've ever had on the golf course. I honestly can't explain what it was like,” Lowry said after signing his card.

“I said to [caddie] Bo walking off the 17th tee, ‘We might never have a day like this on the golf course again. So let's enjoy this next half hour.’

“And that's what I did. The crowd was incredible. I just can't believe what it was like.”

Lowry will have Tommy Fleetwood for company in Sunday’s final pairing after the Englishman emerged as the main challenger to the Irishman late in the day.

Fleetwood signed for a 66 of his own on Saturday, also without recording a bogey, to rocket to 12-under for the tournament.

Holmes was steady in the face of the partisan support surrounding today’s final pairing and his third round 69 has him at 10-under for the tournament, six back of Lowry.

He’ll tee it up alongside countryman Brooks Koepka on Sunday, the four-time major champion’s 67 featuring six birdies that almost came as an afterthought on an extraordinary day.

Koepka’s playing partner from today, former US Open champion Justin Rose, also sits at 9-under for the week after a 68 of his own.

Rickie Fowler and Lee Westwood hold down sixth on the standings at 8-under par and may be the last players with a chance of victory at the year's final men's major.

Play has been brought forward by one hour on Sunday due to the threat of inclement weather, but don’t expect the crowd size at Royal Portrush to be impacted.

It’s safe to say close to all of the 40,000 spectators who roll through the turnstiles on Sunday will be hunting one group and cheering one man.

“Walking from the green to the next tee, the people are literally a yard away from you roaring in your face as loud as they can,” Lowry said.

“If you have to get up and hit a drive down a tight fairway, it's fairly difficult. I thought I dealt with it very well today and hopefully I do the same tomorrow.

“But every time I had a putt today I just wanted to hole it because I wanted to hear that roar, it was just incredible.

“It was an incredible day.”