PORTRUSH, Northern Eire — With foul climate forecast for Sunday at Royal Portrush, the day to make birdies within the sunshine was once Saturday on the British Open.
The leaders took the trace within the 3rd spherical, producing extra roars than respectful silence as they navigated the fairway and undulating path in fairly calm and benign prerequisites.
No guy were given extra toughen than Shane Lowry, a stocky and bearded Irishman whose father, Brendan, was once a outstanding Gaelic soccer participant.
The son is fairly a golfer, and at age 32 after an excellent spherical of 63 on Saturday, Lowry now has the potential of a life-time: an opportunity to win the primary Open championship at the island of Eire since 1951.
“There’s no level in shying clear of it,” he mentioned after heading into the 3rd spherical with a proportion of the lead. “I’m in an excellent place, however, my God, have we were given an extended approach to move.”
Now not fairly to this point anymore. He’s now at 16 below par with a four-stroke lead over the Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. However Lowry nonetheless will have to navigate another spherical below a big highlight even though the heavy rain within the forecast would possibly make it tough to peer any individual obviously at Portrush with the claret jug at stake.
Lowry has but to win a big championship, however he has been on this place earlier than. Within the 2016 United States Open at Oakmont Nation Membership, he additionally had a four-stroke lead heading into the general spherical, best to shoot a six-over-par 76 on Sunday.
He completed tied for 2d in the back of the winner, Dustin Johnson, which might were purpose for birthday party below other instances.
This time, Lowry can have the group in the back of him as the one guy from Eire or Northern Eire in rivalry. However he has some critical challengers: Fleetwood, probably the most stars of Europe’s Ryder Cup victory over the US remaining yr, is at 12 below. J. B. Holmes is at 10 below.
Brooks Koepka, ranked No. 1 on the earth, is at 9 below after completing his spherical of 67 on Saturday with consecutive birdies. Koepka has been essentially the most constant participant within the majors this yr: He tied for 2d on the Masters, received the P.G.A. Championship and completed 2d once more on the U.S. Open.
However he is some distance — seven strokes — in the back of Lowry, as is the previous U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.
Holmes and Lowry began the 3rd spherical tied for the lead at 8 below par. With their identical builds, peaked caps and entire beards, it was once every now and then tough to inform them aside.
The author Rick Reilly joked that they have been “the similar man separated through an accessory.”
However their fortunes diverged at the again 9 as Lowry endured to search out vegetables and hollow snatch putts. He completed with 8 birdies and now not a unmarried bogey, atmosphere a path file at the newly reconfigured Royal Portrush hyperlinks.
He got here inside about an inch of taking pictures 62. His 25-foot birdie putt at the 18th stopped at the left fringe of the cup. However his stroll as much as the 18th hollow on Saturday was once nonetheless a second to savor.
After Lowry hit his way shot onto the 18th inexperienced, he made the lengthy stroll with the gallery serenading him. He doffed his cap, having a look left and proper on the packed grandstands.
That is the primary Open championship to be held at Royal Portrush since 1951; the largest golfing tournament to be held at the island of Eire for the reason that Ryder Cup in 2006.
However Saturday may neatly were the calm earlier than the typhoon, with rain and top winds of 30 to 40 miles in keeping with hour anticipated on Sunday afternoon.
“You’ve simply were given to take what you get,” mentioned Rickie Fowler, the American who’s at 8 below par along side the English veteran Lee Westwood. “That’s hyperlinks golfing. That’s the Open. There’s not anything you’ll do about it. Pass throw the waterproofs on and feature amusing.”
Open organizers moved up the tee instances on Sunday to keep away from the worst of the elements, however the force can be there for Lowry it doesn’t matter what.