Lowry Leads 148th Open by 4 After 63

Shane Lowry of Ireland simply rode the roars of the crowd to a healthy lead in the 148th Open Championship.

The 32-year-old Lowry carded a brilliant, bogey-free 8-under-par 63 to take a four-stroke margin over Tommy Fleetwood of England to the final round on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club https://www.royalportrushgolfclub.com in Portrush, Northern Ireland.

“This is incredible,” said Lowry, seeking his first major title, as the fans continued to chant his name afterward. “My mind is a bit fuzzy at the moment and I can’t wait to sit down and reflect on it. I was a little anxious at the start of the day, but I preformed quite well. I got into some trouble, but was able to get back out of it. … Luck of the Irish, I guess. It was a great day on the golf course.

“I know there is some weather on the way in and I wanted to make a couple more birdies coming in and was able to do it. That will be important heading into tomorrow. To have a four-stroke lead in the Open in Ireland, I almost don’t know what to say. There’s no place I would rather be. But it’s going to be a difficult 24 hours. I’m very excited about tomorrow. I just want to stick to my game plan and my mindset.”

Lowry, who held a four-stroke lead after 54 holes in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont but closed with a 76 and tied for second behind Dustin Johnson, actually birdied three holes in a row through No. 17 while posting a score of 16-under 197 through three rounds.

Fleetwood had a flawless 66 but couldn’t keep up with Lowry down the stretch, while J.B. Holmes, who shared the 36-hole lead with Lowry, birdied the last hole to cap a 69 and is six shots back in solo third.

Top-ranked Brooks Koepka, who has won four of the last 10 majors, birdied the last two holes to shoot 67 and is one more behind in a tie for fourth with fourth-ranked Justin Rose of England, who had a 68.

Rickie Fowler of Murrieta totaled 66 and is eight strokes down in a tie for sixth with Lee Westwood of England, who had a 70, while eighth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain recorded a 68 and is nine back in a tie for eighth with Danny Willett of England, who finished at 65, Tony Finau, who had a 68, and Jordan Spieth, who wound up at 69.

Ninth-ranked Justin Thomas is tied for 19th after a 68, second-ranked Dustin Johnson shot 72 and is tied for 29th, 10th-ranked Patrick Cantlay finished at 71 and is tied for 36th, while defending champion and seventh-ranked Francesco Molinari of Italy slid to a tie for 54th with a 72.

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