• Lowry storms clear of Open field

    Shane Lowry
    Ready to win

    Northern Ireland are getting prepared crown an Irish winner as Shane Lowry moved within inches of his first Major title at Royal Portrush on Saturday.

    Lowry’s magnificent 63 put him four clear of the field with Tommy Fleetwood the nearest challenger after the Englishman carded a bogey-free 66.

    The leader, and through 54 holes it’s difficult to see anyone else walking away with the Claret Jug, turned with three birdies and then stormed into the clubhouse with gains at 15, 16 and 17 to open up a healthy lead.

    Fleetwood was -5 for the day through 12 but could only par his way into the clubhouse helpless to bridge the gap towards Lowry.

    Despite all the low scoring, there was little joy for the South Africans as not one of the six made a positive move.

    Dylan Frittelli is top of the pile after a 70 that left him sharing 12th place but 10 strokes off the pace. The John Deere Classic winner turned under par despite a double at the fourth. A third birdie of the tournament at the 11th was offset by a third drop in as many days at the last.

    Back in 23rd place are Erik van Rooyen and Justin Harding. The former fired a 72 rescued by a birdie at the 17th while Harding dropped 18 places after a 74.

    Ernie Els rattled off four birdies by the 12th hole but was one over par after his bogey at the following hole. He will start Sunday in 36th place.

    Fellow former Open winner Louis Oosthuizen shot a 71 with Branden Grace now in 61st place after a 75.

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