US Open: Shane Lowry takes four-shot lead and heads off to watch the hurling
Irish golfer plans to take in Tipperary-Limerick game ahead of date with destiny at Oakmont
Shane Lowry reacts after holing his par putt on the 18th green as he completed his third round at the US Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania. Photograph: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
You can’t take the DNA out of the man! As Shane Lowry completed his third round to sit atop the US Open leaderboard here at Oakmont Country Club, outside Pittsburgh, the Offalyman planned on preparing for the biggest round of his life by relaxing on the sofa of his rented house . . . and watching the Tipperary-Limerick hurling match on television.
After completing his third round in style with two birdies in the final four holes to sign for a 65 that put him on seven-under-par 203 to hold a four strokes lead over his closest pursuers Dustin Johnson and Andrew Landry, Lowry had time to kill before setting out in the final round in a quest to become a Major champion.
Lowry’s third round had been brought to a halt in the gathering gloom of Saturday night with four holes left to finish and he stayed in the zone with further birdies on the 15th, from 12 feet, and the 17th, from eight feet, before completing his round with a 12-footer for par on the tough 18th to sign for a 65.
With his father, Brendan, an All-Ireland football medal winner with the great Offaly team of the ’80s, and his brother Alan among those in the galleries, Lowry -– winner of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last year – moved to within one round of the biggest win of his career.
Lowry described his third round 65, spread over two days, as “probably the greatest” that he has played.
“To save par on the last was massive. We were in between clubs on the fairway and you can’t go over that green so we erred on the side of caution. We came up five yards shorter than I would like and left myself a tricky putt. It was a great putt to hole and you’ve seen I was pretty happy there. I gave a nice little fist pump and gave myself a bit of momentum going into the final round.
“I’ve just got to go out and play my own game. No matter what happens, I just have to get up and play the next shot. I’m sure there are going to be little twists in the tale this afternoon, I will be expecting that, and we will just have to see how it goes. A few shot lead is obviously nice, but I’ll just have to go out and shoot the best score I can and see where that leaves me on the 18th green. If that’s good enough, I’ll be quite happy.
I feel good. I’ll go back to the house now, have a second breakfast and chill out. I think there is a GAA game on TV so I get to watch a bit of that before the final round,” said Lowry, paired with Landry for the final round, the set to tee off at 3.30pm local time (8.30pm Irish).
One of those in closest pursuit is Johnson, who had a near miss when caught late-on by Jordan Spieth in last year’s championship at Chambers Bay.
“I’m going to have to go out and play a good round of golf. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my game right now. I feel like I’m swinging really well. Just got to go out and play a good, solid round of golf and see what happens,” said Johnson.
Follow Shane Lowry’s final round with Ruaidhrí Croke’s Live Blog of the US Open final round at Oakmont later today.
FINAL ROUND TEE-TIMES (all times Irish, US unless stated, Irish players in bold)
3.0 Justin Hicks
3.10 Spencer Levin, Ethan Tracy
3.20 Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Romain Wattel (Fra)
3.30 Tim Wilkinson (NZ), Danny Lee (NZ)
3.40 Hideto Tanihara (Jpn), Matt Marshall
3.50 James Hahn, Andrew Johnston (Eng)
4.0 Martin Kaymer (Ger), Angel Cabrera (Arg)
4.10 Lee Slattery (Eng), Ryan Moore
4.20 Danny Willett (Eng), Brandon Harkins
4.30 Bill Haas, Emiliano Grillo (Arg)
4.40 Matteo Manassero (Ita), Marc Leishman (Aus)
4.50 Chase Parker, Jon Rahm (Esp, am)
5.0 Bubba Watson, Byeong-Hun An (Kor)
5.10 Cameron Smith (Aus), Charley Hoffman
5.20 David Lingmerth (Swe), Chris Wood (Eng)
5.30 Rob Oppenheim, Brooks Koepka
5.40 Jason Kokrak, Justin Thomas
5.50 Kevin Kisner, Andrew Sullivan (Eng)
6.0 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Russell Knox (Sco)
6.10 Graeme McDowell (N Irl), Jordan Spieth
6.20 Matt Kuchar, Gregory Bourdy (Fra)
6.30 Jim Furyk, Harris English
6.40 Patrick Rodgers, Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn)
6.50 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa)
7.0 Billy Horschel, Adam Scott (Aus)
7.10 Brendan Steele, Derek Fathauer
7.20 Sung Kang (Kor), Daniel Berger
7.30 Jason Dufner, Kevin Na
7.40 Kevin Streelman, Zach Johnson
7.50 Bryson De Chambeau, Jason Day (Aus)
8.0 Scott Piercy, Sergio Garcia (Esp)
8.10 Branden Grace (Rsa), Daniel Summerhays
8.20 Lee Westwood (Eng), Dustin Johnson
8.30 Andrew Landry, Shane Lowry (Irl)