Shane Lowry’s challenge fades in Arizona
Bogey strewn back nine sees Offaly man fall seven back after Phoenix Open third round
Shane Lowry tees off during the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on February 5, 2016 Photograph: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Shane Lowry’s quest for a second career PGA Tour title nosedived in the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale as the Offalyman found a mix of water and sand late in his round a toxic blend on his back nine.
Lowry hit a hat-trick of birdies from the third hole to jump into contention only to flounder on the back nine, as he failed to find a birdie on the run home and bogeys on the 11th, 15th and 16th saw him sign for a 72 to follow up his opening rounds of 65 and 70 for a six-under-par 207 that saw him drop into a share of 10th heading into the final round.
That run of three consecutive birdies on the outward run had propelled Lowry into the thick of the action, only for his long irons to desert him when it mattered most with a double-cross on a mid-iron from the middle of the 15th which found a watery grave and a tee-shot into a greenside bunker on the 16th leading to back-to-back bogeys which epitomised his Saturday travails.
As Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee shot a third round 67 for a 13-under-par 54-hole total of 200 to take control, three shots clear of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler, Lowry’s back nine proved costly as he fell away to finish the third round in tied-10th and seven shots adrift of Lee.
Bryce Molder’s third 64 propelled him to fourth on 204 alongside Boo Weekley with Phil Mickelson - after a 65 - in sixth on 205. Lowry had looked set to mount a strong challenge to add to his WGC-Bridgestone Invitational win of last year only to falter on the way home with some poor iron approach play proving extremely costly.