Eagles carry Shane Lowry into Open hunt before crash back to earth

‘I was in the tournament and did well to play my way out of the tournament from there’

Shane Lowry flew into third-round contention at the Open with back-to-back eagle twos on Saturday but the high-flying Irishman was quickly bought back to earth with a back nine collapse.

Lowry, the 2019 Open champion at Portrush, started his day on four under, nine shots off leader Cameron Smith, but rocketed up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth when he holed out the par-four ninth then immediately did it again at the par-four 10th.

But Irishman Lowry wasted much of that brilliance by giving most of it back with bogeys at 12, 15 and 17 before closing with a birdie to sign for an unsatisfying three-under 69.

“It was a very emotional day,” said Lowry, after posting a three-round total of seven-under 209. “I felt like through the middle of the front nine I was just going along okay, not doing anything great.

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“Obviously nine and 10 happened and I felt like I was in the tournament and did well to play my way out of the tournament from there. Pretty annoyed and pretty pissed off, to be honest.”

Lowry’s magic electrified the early arrivals pouring on to the Old Course with the roars rolling across the sun-bathed links.

Standing in the rough to the side of the ninth green Lowry watched in delight as his chip tracked straight into the cup, celebrating with a fist pump.

The next one, from longer range, earned a double celebration, the 35-year-old punching both arms into the air and a round of high fives.

“The rest of the day wasn’t so enjoyable,” lamented Lowry. “I’m so disappointed to be honest because I worked so hard and I work so hard to get myself in those positions, and I’m as disappointed as I’ve been in a long time.”

The double eagles plus two birdies on the front nine left Lowry four back of Smith but by round’s end he had slipped off the front page of the leaderboard and was in danger of dropping further with the pacesetters about to start their third rounds.

“You keep saying all the time that you want to get yourself to the back nine on a Saturday with an opportunity to do something great,” said Lowry. “I got myself there today and I didn’t perform.”