Shane Lowry’s ‘where I want to be’ ahead of US PGA final round

Shane Lowry has rediscovered his mojo, and he’s loving it. In bucking what has been a difficult season, the 31-year-old Offalyman jumped into the battle where it is hottest and stayed in contention in this 100th US PGA at Bellerive Country Club in the suburbs of St Louis when he followed a weather-delayed second round 64 with a third round 69 to make it to eight-under-par 202, four strokes behind leader Brooks Koepka.

A long old day which started with a 4.45am alarm call – one which was initially ignored until the back-ups brought him from his slumber – finished with a fine 10-footer for birdie on the 18th green some 13 hours later, the sort of putt that provided a boost to confidence after showing great patience throughout his round. It was an act of defiance.

Koepka, the back-to-back US Open champion, had threatened to run away from the field only for back-to-back bogeys late-on to bring him to within touching distance. The American – with Ulsterman Ricky Elliott on his bag – shot a third round 66 for a 54-holes total of 12-under-par 198, two shots clear of Australian Adam Scott and three ahead of a trio of Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland.

Woodland’s ordeals on the 10th hole – where he ran up a triple-bogey seven, unfortunate that his shot into a bunker found footprints left by its previous occupant Kevin Kisner – only served to underscore that, although the course has offered a plethora of birdies over the three rounds, it also retained a capacity to bite too.

Brooks Koepka plays his shot from a bunker on the 18th hole during the third round of the US PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Brooks Koepka plays his shot from a bunker on the 18th hole during the third round of the US PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Lowry was entitled to feel tired, mentally and physically, given his exertions in the stifling heat. But there was also an exuberance too.

“I feel like I’m where I want to be. I’m very excited for [the final round]. It’s great to have your brother on the bag, your dad out there watching, and you’re going and competing in the final round of a Major. It doesn’t get much better. So I’m looking forward to it,” said Lowry, who has his brother Alan on the bag in a temporary capacity and decided to fly his father, Brendan, over on the basis that it could be the only time to two would be together in a Major.

Without a top-10 on tour, either on the PGA Tour or the European Tour so far this season, Lowry had shown decent form in the build-up tournaments in Canada and Reno and has moved up a level since arriving at Bellerive.

“I came here very confident this week. I played lovely the last two and I’ve seemed to just kick on. Obviously, my game is in decent shape, and mentally I’m in a decent place. Hopefully, I can kick on for the rest of the year, and who knows what will happen?”

Whatever about the rest of the season, Lowry heads into the final round of this Major with serious ambitions. Just two years ago, he led by four strokes going into the final round of the US Open and he is hoping to be the one doing the pursuing this time around: “A late tee time tomorrow in a Sunday at a Major is where I want to be. I’ve been in this position before, so I know what it’s about. Hopefully, I can go out and do a better job this time than I did the last time . . . I just have to play my own game and just be patient. Patience is everything.”

Rory McIlroy plays his shot from the sixth tee during the third round of the US PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy plays his shot from the sixth tee during the third round of the US PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Lowry found himself in a group of six players in tied-sixth, and the only one of them yet to win a Major. The elite company that sat alongside him on that mark featured Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Charl Schwartzel and Stewart Cink.

“I’m not going to stand and aim at every flag tomorrow, no, because that would be just stupid. I’m just going to go out, and when I get a number into a green where I have a good flow, then I’ll go for it. Majors aren’t easy won. I know Brooks is used to being up there and he has two, but it’s not easy winning them. There’s going to be a few changes on the leaderboard and hopefully I’ll have something to say about it,” said Lowry.

Rory McIlroy failed to find any spark, a double bogey on the 12th – where he hit a wild tee-shot into the trees – effectively putting a halt to any gallop. McIlroy signed for a 71 for 208, two-under, that left him well adrift in tied-45th position.

THIRD ROUND SCOREBOARD
(USA unless stated, par 70):

198 Brooks Koepka 69 63 66

200 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 65 65

201 Jon Rahm (Esp) 68 67 66, Gary Woodland 64 66 71, Rickie Fowler 65 67 69

202 Jason Day (Aus) 67 68 67, Justin Thomas 69 65 68, Tiger Woods 70 66 66, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 70 63 69, Shane Lowry (Irl) 69 64 69, Stewart Cink 67 69 66

203 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 67 68, Julian Suri 69 66 68, Kevin Kisner 67 64 72

204 Daniel Berger 73 65 66, Pat Perez 67 67 70, Xander Schauffele 70 67 67, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 66 68 70, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 67 66 71, Webb Simpson 68 68 68

205 Dustin Johnson 67 66 72, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 69 67 69, Matt Wallace (Eng) 71 66 68, Justin Rose (Eng) 67 69 69, Ian Poulter (Eng) 67 70 68, Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 72 66 67, Patrick Cantlay 68 67 70

206 Jason Kokrak 68 67 71, Chris Kirk 68 70 68, Branden Grace (Rsa) 68 70 68, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 68 70 68, Chez Reavie 71 68 67, Seung-su Han 74 66 66, Billy Horschel 68 69 69, Jordan Spieth 71 66 69

207 Zach Johnson 66 70 71, Andrew Landry 73 65 69, Ben Kern 71 69 67, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 71 69 67, Kevin Na 70 69 68, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 71 67 69, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 70 68 69, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 73 67 67, Ryan Moore 69 70 68

208 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 71 68 69, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 73 65 70, Austin Cook 67 72 69, Keegan Bradley 69 68 71, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 70 67 71, Ted Potter, Jr. 74 66 68, Yuta Ikeda (Jpn) 68 69 71, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 69 70 69, Jimmy Walker 69 70 69, Brandt Snedeker 72 67 69, Brice Garnett 71 68 69, Russell Knox (Sco) 71 68 69

209 Tony Finau 74 66 69, Andrew Putnam 68 69 72, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 70 70 69, JJ Spaun 69 68 72, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 73 67 69, Sungjae Imn (Kor) 71 67 71

210 Nick Watney 75 65 70, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 68 69 73, Ross Fisher (Eng) 68 69 73, Kevin Chappell 69 71 70, Ollie Schniederjans 67 71 72, Joaquin Niemann (Chi) 68 71 71, Russell Henley 74 65 71, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 70 70 70

211 Vijay Singh (Fij) 71 69 71, Jim Furyk 69 71 71, Marc Leishman (Aus) 68 71 72, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 70 68 73, Brian Harman 72 68 71

212 Charles Howell III 74 66 72

213 Cameron Smith (Aus) 74 66 73

214 Scott Brown 72 68 74

215 Chris Stroud 69 70 76, Brian Gay 67 73 75

FINAL ROUND TEE-TIMES

(USA unless stated, all times Irish)

13: 29 Chris Stroud, Brian Gay
13:38 Cameron Smith (Aus), Scott Brown
13:47 Charles Howell III, Vijay Singh (Fij)
13:56 Jim Furyk, Brian Harman

14:05 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Marc Leishman (Aus)
14:14 Nick Watney, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)
14:23 Joaquin Niemann (Chi), Kevin Chappell
14:32 Russell Henley, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn)
14:41 Ollie Schniederjans, Ross Fisher (Eng)
14:50 Tony Finau, Byeong-Hun An (Kor)
14:59 Andrew Putnam, Adrian Otaegui (Esp)

15:08 Sungjae Imn (Kor), JJ Spaun
15:17 Jimmy Walker, Ted Potter, Jr.
15:26 Austin Cook, Brandt Snedeker
15:35 Brice Garnett, Russell Knox (Sco)
15:53 Yuta Ikeda (Jpn), Keegan Bradley

16:02 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng), Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn)
16:11 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), Rory McIlroy (NIrl)
16:20 Martin Kaymer (Ger), Dylan Frittelli (Rsa)
16:29 Zach Johnson, Ben Kern
16:38 Kevin Na, Ryan Moore
16:47 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng)
16: 56 Seung-su Han, Andrew Landry

17:05 Jordan Spieth, Jason Kokrak
17:15 Billy Horschel, Chez Reavie
17:25 Ryan Fox (Nzl), Branden Grace (Rsa)
17:35 Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk
17:45 Justin Rose (Eng), Patrick Cantlay
17:55 Matt Wallace (Eng), Emiliano Grillo (Arg)

18:05 Eddie Pepperell (Eng), Ian Poulter (Eng)
18:15 Thomas Pieters (Bel), Brandon Stone (Rsa)
18: 25 Webb Simpson, Pat Perez
18: 45 Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele
18: 55 Francesco Molinari (Ita), Kevin Kisner

19: 05 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Julian Suri
19:15 Justin Thomas, Shane Lowry (Irl)
19:25 Stewart Cink, Jason Day (Aus)
19:35 Gary Woodland, Tiger Woods
19: 45 Jon Rahm (Esp), Rickie Fowler
19:55 Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott (Aus)

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