Shane Lowry stalks leaders at Firestone with 67

Graeme McDowell also remains in contention, tied for eighth heading into the final round

Shane Lowry hits from the fairway on the 2nd hole during the third round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Photo: AP Photo

Shane Lowry hits from the fairway on the 2nd hole during the third round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Photo: AP Photo

 

Shane Lowry remains in the hunt at the WGC-Bridgestone- Invitational at Firestone Country Club with a five birdie round of 67 leaving him on seven under for the tournament and just three shots off the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.

Lowry was within a shot of the lead after his fourth birdie of the day on the 12th, but bogeyed the next two holes before a birdie on the 16th helped the 28-year-old card a third-round 67. “Obviously this is a massive tournament and it’s going to be a big day for me tomorrow,” Lowry told Sky Sports 4. “Going out here in contention is a lot different than going out in contention in a smaller event back home, but we’re going to try and hit the first tee shot down the middle of the fairway and take it from there.”

Graeme McDowell is also in contention, sitting tied for eigth, on four under, after a round of 69 left him five off leaders Jim Furyk and JustinRose.

Englishman Rose fired a flawless 63, carding 17 pars and one bogey in a second round of 71 in Akron, extending an unwelcome streak without a birdie to 30 holes to start the day six shots off the lead.

However, the Ryder Cup star made amends in brilliant fashion with seven birdies - four of the them in the last six holes — to finish nine under par alongside halfway leader Jim Furyk, who returned a 69.

“If I go back to (Friday) I was really pleased with the way I played. I drove the ball phenomenally well and had wedges in my hand all day,” Rose, who won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans a fortnight after finishing joint second behind Jordan Spieth in the Masters, told Sky Sports 4.

“I felt like I could have birdied most of the holes out there and it just didn’t happen. It would have been easy to get frustrated (on Friday) and go backwards, but I think (Saturday) was a product of staying patient (on Friday) and still believing I was playing well.”

Asked if his form was pointing toward a second major title ahead of next week’s USPGA Championship, the 2013 US Open winner added: “I would say yes.

“If I look at the Masters, that was huge shot in the arm in terms of confidence as I had not played any good golf before then. Jordan was incredibly hard to beat that week, but take him out and I felt I put in a major-winning performance.”

Furyk has recorded nine top-10 finishes at this tournament, including five in a row from its inception in 1999, and memorably lost a seven-hole play-off to Tiger Woods in 2001.

The world number six also squandered a one-shot lead with one hole to play in 2012, carding a double bogey from the middle of the 18th fairway to lose out by a shot to Keegan Bradley.

Consecutive rounds of 66 meant Furyk began the third round with a four-shot lead and he briefly enjoyed that cushion again following his third birdie of the day on the 11th.

However, the 45-year-old bogeyed the next and was unable to find any more birdies on the closing stretch to end the day tied with Rose, two shots ahead of playing partner Shane Lowry.

World number two Jordan Spieth has his work cut out to replace Rory McIlroy at the top of the rankings with a victory on Sunday, the 22-year-old carding a double bogey on the 18th to shoot 72 and lie nine shots off the lead.

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