The 150th Open: Shane Lowry offers harsh self-assessment after disappointing back nine on day three | Golf News

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Shane Lowry was left underwhelmed by his day despite superb eagles midway through round three

Shane Lowry was left underwhelmed by his day despite superb eagles midway through round three

A self-critical Shane Lowry admitted he was “as disappointed as I’ve been in a long time” after struggling to capitalise on successive eagles with a lacklustre back nine on day three at The 150th Open.

Huge Irish support for the 2019 Open champion was rewarded with one of the periods of the day when their man eagled the ninth and 10th holes to close in on the frontrunners.

That flurry, however, had anything but the desired effect as he weaved three bogeys between five par holes over the next seven before restoring some order with a birdie to close out on the 18th.

It would leave him seven under and ruing what might have been.

Shane Lowry jumped to -7 and then -9 on the leaderboard after he hit two spectacular chip shots for eagles on the 9th and 10th holes!

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Shane Lowry jumped to -7 and then -9 on the leaderboard after he hit two spectacular chip shots for eagles on the 9th and 10th holes!

Shane Lowry jumped to -7 and then -9 on the leaderboard after he hit two spectacular chip shots for eagles on the 9th and 10th holes!

“It was pretty cool, and it was good fun when those two went in,” said Lowry. “But the rest of the day wasn’t so enjoyable.

“Look, I feel like I played okay, but I don’t think it – wouldn’t take Einstein to figure out what went wrong on the back nine. My putting was horrific.

“I’m so disappointed to be honest because I worked so hard, and I work so hard to get myself in those positions, and I’m as disappointed as I’ve been in a long time.

“To be honest, I wasn’t going to come in here, but it’s just hard. You feel like you’re there, like you’ve got a good chance. I shoot one-under for the last seven holes and I’m very bullish about my chances going into tomorrow. Now I have no chance. It’s just very disappointing.”

Shane Lowry lines up his putt at the 18th on day three of The Open

Shane Lowry lines up his putt at the 18th on day three of The Open

Despite the setback, Lowry maintains he believes he is still playing well enough, which is perhaps the root of his frustration heading into Sunday.

“My game has been good enough all week,” he said. “To be honest, I think it’s a credit to my game the way I fought to be top 20 going into Sunday around here.

“So, yeah, I’m fairly bullish about if I do figure something out, I could shoot a score tomorrow. But I’m trying my best.

“Like, I don’t have the answer. I don’t have the answer. If I did, I wouldn’t need to go to the putting green now. But it’s just hard. This game is hard sometimes.”

Fleetwood: I’ve got a chance

Tommy Fleetwood believes his third round six-under-par 66 keeps him in contention heading into the final round of The Open

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Tommy Fleetwood believes his third round six-under-par 66 keeps him in contention heading into the final round of The Open

Tommy Fleetwood believes his third round six-under-par 66 keeps him in contention heading into the final round of The Open

Tommy Fleetwood meanwhile continued his trajectory across the week to keep himself in the mix by shooting a round of 66 to improve to nine-under.

It comes after a round of 72 on the opening day followed by 69 in round two, three birdies in his final five holes coming as a welcome boost after a tough period mid-way through the day.

“First day was disappointed really, we had a nice tee time on the first day and nice conditions and didn’t make the most of it at all,” he told Sky Sports. “So that was a disappointing day and then I felt like yesterday I actually played really well, I didn’t feel like it was that easy yesterday but felt like I got something going a little bit and I would have loved to have finished better on 17 and 18, but I felt like I played well yesterday.

“And then today, when we were sat having breakfast, everybody seemed to be making birdies everywhere.

“I got off to a great start, the middle stretch was a bit frustrating because you’re thinking nine, 10, 11, 12, I played those in one over and then a good finish again. I played well, I was happy today.

“There is a low score out here, it’s obviously not in my hands at the moment. All I could do was try stick in and stay in there today.

“Definitely putts on 15, up and down 17, putts on 18, they feel like crucial to stay in with some kind of chance. But it definitely kept me in with a chance and we’ll just see, I just want to do the best I can every day.

“I would love to be in with a chance coming down the back nine tomorrow. It’s very special to still be in and amongst it.”

Fleetwood was notably paired with Lowry when the Irishman beat him to victory at the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush, with the Brit second on nine-under and six strokes back in what marked the closest he has come to a major title in his career.

Might he take any lessons from that occasion into the final round?

“I think my experience of playing on a Sunday, I didn’t win or anything, but I felt like I did a pretty good job, with Shane aside,” he said. “Shane was exceptional on that particular day. The more you’re up there on a Sunday and compete, the more you have a chance of eventually getting over the line.

“I think that’s all you can really keep doing and keep focusing on. It’s nice to be playing well again. We’ll see. Like Portrush feels like a long time ago at the moment. But at the moment and in the current situation, I feel like I’ve been gradually improving, gradually building a bit of momentum, and results have been slowly coming.

“How my game’s been holding up much better throughout four rounds than it was during last year where I was nowhere to be seen in a way. So it’s nice to be sort of having a go again and seeing what we can do.”

Fitzpatrick: Who knows what can happen?

Matthew Fitzpatrick explained on Friday that victory at the US Open has given him the confidence to believe he can win anything, from any position.

That remained the case at the end of round three, and while he conceded he might rely on errors around him he refused to give up on chasing down the lead pack having positioned himself tied for eighth on nine under, seven strokes behind leaders Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland.

“Obviously seven back right now, which is plenty. But this golf course would make it seven apparently. Yeah, this golf course is one that you can go low round,” Fitzpatrick said.

“Obviously the only issue is most of the low scores tend to come in the morning, when the greens are soft. It will be harder tomorrow. I’ll need guys to come back to me. But if I get off to a hot start, who knows?

“I’ve never won from seven behind before, so there’s always a first time. But I just think, looking at the golf course, how it plays in the afternoon, they’ve got to come back to me, in my opinion.

“It’s difficult for me to make a real charge without someone else up there as well doing the same thing. I just think that’s kind of how the golf course plays.”

Watch the final round of The 150th Open from 8am on Sunday live on Sky Sports The Open. There will be lots of extra action via the red button on Sky Sports The Open, along with Sky Q and Sky Glass, with Featured Groups and Featured Holes available to enjoy as the world’s best players tackle the Home of Golf.

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