If Shane Lowry is going to win the 2019 Open Championship he will need to overcome the most brutal conditions on the final day. This is far from over
From start to finish, Shane Lowry was in complete control during the third round of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush. His ever-dependable short game was complimented by some of the best ball striking we have ever seen from the Irishman (he hit 17 of 18 greens). Shooting 63 on arguably the biggest day of his golfing life was certainly the round of an Open Champion in waiting.
Speaking to Sky Sports after his round he said, “There’s nowhere I’d rather be, I’ve got a four shot lead at The Open in Ireland.”
He added that this was, “One of the most incredible days of my life.”
As he finished up on the 18th green to a chorus of the Irish national anthem echoing through The Open Arms (the on-course pub), it was hard not to get carried away. Lowry was blowing the rest away.
However, make no mistake – the toughest test is yet to come. Shane Lowry holds a four shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood but the storm clouds are gathering. The R&A has chosen to bring the tee times forward tomorrow by two hours in a bid to get the event finished despite the forecasted inclement weather.
So far, the incredible Portrush test has been largely missing its sharpest teeth. Not tomorrow. With gusts of wind forecast of up to 40mph, the most severe of the rough will surely come crashing into play. For all the Open competitors, tomorrow will be an uncomfortable day.
This brings us back to Lowry and the biggest day of his career. At Oakmont in the 2016 US Open, Lowry held a four shot lead ahead of the final round but shot 76 to finish three shots behind Dustin Johnson. Again, he told Sky Sports, “I hope I’m going to be able to deal with it better.”
If Shane Lowry is going to win his first major tomorrow and fulfil the immense talent that so many have marvelled over for so long, he’ll have to do it in the toughest of circumstances.
Royal Portrush will show its brutal side and with danger at every turn, no lead is truly big enough.
That he has the ability to get the job done is clear but strange things happen in final rounds, especially in majors. Thus far, Shane Lowry has shown us his incredible talent and flair. Tomorrow will all be about grit and determination. The toughest test is yet to come.