Shane Lowry will have a chance to end his 1,000-day wait for a win after blasting a six-under 65 to go into the final round of the RBC Heritage, just a shot behind leader Harold Varner III.
he Clara man has been in superb form this year and after a brilliant shared third place finish at the Masters he is now on course to win a sixth time since winning the Irish Open at Baltray as an amateur in 2009.
The world No. 30 complained that his iron game had let him down at times at the Augusta National, but he excelled at Harbor Town Golf Links, where he topped the approach stats with eight birdies and two bogeys in round three to take second Sharing place Overnight leader Patrick Cantlay and South Africa’s Erik Van Rooyen at 10 under par.
“It was pretty good,” Lowry said after chipping in a nine-foot, his longest successful putt of the day, for a finishing birdie. “I feel, without complaining too much, that 65 is the worst score I could have gotten.
“I hit the ball incredibly today and I didn’t really hole anything. That putt on the last one is probably as long as I’ve potted all day.
“It was pretty frustrating for a while, but I hit it pretty close a couple of times and made some nice birdies. It was really nice to make the last birdie and put me in double digits for the tournament.”
Lowry started the day five strokes behind Cantlay after firing a one-over-72 in difficult, windy conditions on Friday.
There was no more than a 10-15 mph breeze on lap three, and the Offaly man made hay and opened his account by smashing in a seven-foot on the second lap.
He got the fourth out of 20 feet, but hit a 197-yard approach to six feet on the fourth par-3, then bobbing just before the fifth par-5 for another birdie.
He would drop another shot on sixth, missing a five foot for par. But after missing a seven-footer for the birdie on the seventh, he holed from eight feet after another excellent run from 180 yards on the eighth.
Out in two-unders, he hit approach shots within three feet on the 10th and 11th to go Four Under for the day, and while missing eight feet for birdie on the 12th and 13th, he fired a 98-yard Keil to three feet down on the 15th before picking up another shot on the last.
Lowry had seven top-24 finishes in eight starts that year and lost by one shot as he finished second to Sepp Straka at the Honda Classic before putting on a tremendous performance at the Masters, where an early triple bogey in fourth place ended up killing his chances of challenging Scottie Scheffler.
“It’s a good thing, but it’s also frustrating,” he said of his form and his bid for his first win in two years and eight months. “I feel like I could have shot two, three or four better today. But look, I would have taken 65 before I walked out. Another Sunday in the position I want to be in and looking forward to it.
“It was very easy to get today. There were many opportunities out there. Yesterday was just one of those days where you had to close the hatches and make pars and try and get a yardage or two if you could, but it wasn’t a day for shooting flags or anything.
“Whereas today I felt like every time you have a good number you can really go for the flags and I did and I took some good shots.”
Regarding his form, he said: “Yes, it’s amazing. My confidence is obviously pretty high. I’ve been there a lot of Sundays this year so far. The only thing that let me down at the Masters last week was my iron play, and I’m probably not far from #1 in the field this week in strokes won.
“It’s funny how this game works. I putt great in the Masters. I didn’t putt very well today.”
Varner III carded a bogey-free eight-under 63 as the leaders made the turn to take the lead in the clubhouse at 11-under par.
He finished the day a shot ahead of Lowry, van Rooyen (67) and Cantlay, who birdied on the 18th to card a one-under 70.
However, there are 20 players within four shots of the lead, with Hudson Swafford (66), Straka (67), Matt Kuchar (67) and Aaron Wise (68) in fifth place, two behind with a nine-under.
Portrush’s 2013 Hilton Head champion Graeme McDowell rebounded from his 76 in round two by making five birdies in a no-bogey 66 to move up to tied 30th with a five-under, just six shots behind the pace.
“Back on the rise with a gritty and determined 5 under the third round,” McDowell said on social media. “Would like to show the same character tomorrow.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/golf/shane-lowry-just-one-shot-off-lead-in-rbc-heritage-after-stunning-65-41560302.html Shane Lowry is just one shot away from the lead in RBC Heritage after an impressive 65