Shane Lowry holds his nerve through the storms to win the Open

Rob Bagchi
The Telegraph
Shane Lowry wins the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush - AP
Shane Lowry wins the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush - AP

Ireland's Shane Lowry exorcised the ghosts of Oakmont to claim his first major title in commanding fashion in the 148th Open at Royal Portrush.

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Roared on by a sell-out crowd undeterred by the miserable conditions, Lowry carded a closing 72 to become the fifth Irish player to lift the Claret Jug after Fred Daly, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.

The 32-year-old from Offaly finished 15-under, six shots ahead of England's Tommy Fleetwood, with American Tony Finau two strokes further back in third.

World No1 Brooks Koepka, who was attempting to become the first player in the modern era to finish in the top two in all four majors in a calendar year, had to settle for a share of fourth with Lee Westwood, a result which secured the 46-year-old a first Masters appearance since 2017 next April.

Three years after failing to convert a four-shot lead in the final round of the US Open at Oakmont, Lowry took the same advantage into the last day of the first Open staged outside Scotland or England since Max Faulkner triumphed at Portrush in 1951.

Looking understandably nervous, Lowry pulled his opening tee shot and looked on anxiously as his ball headed towards the internal out of bounds which had cost pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy so dear on Thursday.

<span>Lowry walks up the 18th fairway to a thunderous reception</span> <span>Credit:  Richard Heathcote/R&A/R&A via Getty Images </span>
Lowry walks up the 18th fairway to a thunderous reception Credit:  Richard Heathcote/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

Similarly errant drives had also led to double bogeys for Rickie Fowler and JB Holmes, but Lowry's ball was poorly struck and plunged into the rough, from where he found a greenside bunker with his approach.

Fleetwood had found the fairway off the tee and hit a superb second shot to six feet, but missed his birdie attempt and, after a mediocre bunker shot and timid putt, Lowry held his nerve to hole from five feet for just his fourth bogey of the week.

The lead was back to four shots when Fleetwood, who also missed a good birdie chance on the par-five second, bogeyed the third and Lowry moved further clear with a birdie on the fourth which was greeted with a massive cheer from the crowd.

Both players birdied the short fifth before Lowry demonstrated the short-game skills honed in chipping competitions against Harrington by getting up and down from short of the seventh green to pick up another shot.

<span>The gods were not with Fleetwood on a difficult final day in sometimes dreadful conditions</span> <span>Credit: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/REX </span>
The gods were not with Fleetwood on a difficult final day in sometimes dreadful conditions Credit: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/REX

Lowry, who won the 2009 Irish Open as an amateur in similarly poor weather, looked in total control before a combination of three bogeys in the next four holes and Fleetwood's birdie on the 12th cut the gap to four.

However, Fleetwood could not turn the screw and double bogeyed the 14th after finding sand off the tee, meaning Lowry increased his lead to five despite failing to save par from over the green.

Lowry, who sacked his caddie after the first round of last year's Open and missed the cut for the fourth year in succession, had the title in his grasp and a birdie on the 15th had chants of "Ole, Ole, Ole" ringing out around the Dunluce Links.

It also meant Lowry's name was etched on the Claret Jug by the time he stepped on to the 18th tee and a regulation par sealed an emphatic triumph, Lowry hugging his caddie Brian 'Bo' Martin before being embraced by wife Wendy and two-year-old daughter Iris.

 

6:41PM

More from the Champion Golfer of the Year

 I was so calm coming down the last! I couldn’t believe it. What a day! 

I told Bo [his caddie] that I couldn't stop thinking about winning it for the first six holes and he told me just 'stay with me'.  What a job he did.

It was difficult out there, the weather was so hard. I wasn’t going great during the middle of the round, but then I saw the leaderboard and everyone else was struggling, and then it became a two-horse race between me and Tommy. And that was good for me, I think, because I could focus on Tommy as far as I could.

I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow morning, and find out what it’s going to feel like then. It’s just going to be incredible!

6:33PM

A golden age? 

 

6:28PM

A tearful Shane Lowry speaks

I have so many people to thank - the R&A. I love this place, to have the opportunity to have an Open on the island of Ireland. My coach Neil, my caddie Bo, my management team.

My mum and dad sacrificed so much for me when I was younger. I'm so happy I can hand them this trophy tonight. My wife and my little girl, Iris, having them here is so special.

Last but not least the volunteers and all the fans. Thank you so much, this is for you. 

6:16PM

Shane Lowry is Champion Golfer of the Year

He embraces his caddie, then his wife and daughter. He moves on to his father and then Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington. Magnificent. Huge home crowds and we have an Irish champion as the Open returns to Irish soil after 68 years. 

6:10PM

Shane Lowry is Open Champion

Tommy Fleetwood secures his par with two putts from 50ft, allowing Lowry sole ownership of centre stage as he goes for his birdie from 30ft. He gives it a proper thump but it sidles by on the left for a gimme tap-in for par.

-15 Lowry (F)
-9 Fleetwood (F)
-7 Finau (F)
-6  Westwood (F), Koepka (F). 


6:07PM

Lowry is on the 18th green in two

And the party has started now. Deafening roars of  olé, olé, olé  ring around the galleries. Here are the men he will join as Open Champions from the island of Ireland.

Lowry has a smile as wide as the broad, majestic Shannon. 

1947 Fred Daly (Northern Ireland)
2008 Padraig Harrington (Ireland)
2009 Padraig Harrington (Ire)
2011 Darren Clarke (NI)
2014 Rory McIlory (NI)
2019 Shane Lowry (Ire)




 

6:04PM

Some of today's scores on this pig of a day

JB Holmes 87
Matt Kuchar 79
Justin Rose 79
Xander Schauffele 78
Sergio Garcia 78
Dylan Frittelli 78
Andrew Putnam 78





5:57PM

Bring the noise

The engraver has started his work on the Claret Jug. The galleries are converging on Lowry whenever they can - as he walks to the 17th tee, as he skirts the fairway on his way down to the green. Both are on the par-four green in two. Lowry has 25ft for birdie and good for it, leaving it pin high on the right by a couple of feet. Fleetwood, from 35 ft, goes first and sweeps his putt to 4ft and knocks that in. He has a two-stroke lead over Tony Finau in third. 

-15 Lowry (17)
-9 Fleetwood (17)
-7 Finau (F)
-6  Westwood (F), Koepka (17). 


<span>The engraver's work is done</span> <span>Credit: Sky Sports </span>
The engraver's work is done Credit: Sky Sports

 

5:45PM

Six ahead, two to play

Lee Westwood ends with a par for 73 today and -6 for the tournament. He had 12ft for birdie and a tie of third place but his putting, particularly those that break from the left, hasn't been solid enough today.

Back at the par-three 16th, Fleetwood's tee shot has afforded him a 35-footer through the fringe for birdie. He paces it out, stands over the ball and curls it to within 4ft.

Lowry, at the front of the green, gives his birdie effort more oomph but it slides 4ft by on the left. Both should secure par here.  And they do.

The crowd is giving Lowry the full olé, olé, olé now. 

-15 Lowry (16)
-9 Fleetwood (16)
-7 Finau (F), Koepka (16)
-6  Westwood (F). 


 

5:34PM

Fleetwood looks cooked

Both make the fairway from the 15th tee but Lowry's second arrows to 12ft right of the pin. Fleetwood's pitch is a good 40ft short. 

Lowry has had this won all day and all he's had to do is maintain his shortgame brilliance and lay matchplay golf with his closest rival as those ahead crumbled in the wind and rain. 

Fleetwood has to go for the birdie chance but seems to lack energy as he leaves it 5ft short. 

Westwood makes par on 17 to stay on -6.

Lowry rattles in his birdie putt and he extends his lead back to six strokes. It provokes a thunderous roar from the gallery. 

-15 Lowry (15)
-9 Fleetwood (15)
-7 Finau (F), Koepka (16)
-6  Westwood (17) Fowler (16).


5:22PM

Going backwards

Lowry fiddles his par-putt to 2ft and falls back to -14, knowing Fleetwood has left himself a very tricky 14ft for bogey. Fleetwood line sit up and gives it the necessary weight but it kisses the lip on the right and soesn't drop. Lowry drops one stroke, Fleetwood two.

-14 Lowry (14)
-9 Fleetwood (14)
-7 Finau (16), Koepka (15)
-6  Westwood (17) Fowler (16).


5:18PM

On the 14th green

Tommy Fleetwood takes a wood to the 473-yard par-four 14th and he catches it clean but smears it into a fairway bunker. His second stroke, aiming for the green, is too fierce and it flies to the right of the green and plugs in the thick rough on the hillock above the dance floor. He has an awful lie. Lowry, from the deep rough off the tee, bursts the green by about 50ft with his heavy second.

Fleetwood bumps out on to the skirt of the green, leaving him an impossible up-dale-downhill monster for par. Lowry is about 12ft from the pin with his chip. 

Meanwhile Westwood has bogeyed 16th to drop back to six-under. 

5:05PM

Mano a mano

Fleetwood bursts the green at the par-three 13th when his tee shot catches the wind and sails over the pin by about 30ft. He chips back to 6ft.

Lowry has a decent lie in the bunker to the left of the green and splashes out with sensational precision to 4ft.   

Fleetwood taps in his squiggly par putt and Lowry takes a longer time than normal over his but steers it in all the same ... just as it turned late and was blwon along by the wind as it approached the cup. 

Willett's third bogey in a row and Fowler's second push them down to -5 after 15 and 14 holes respectively. 

-15 Lowry (13)
-11 Fleetwood (13)
-7 Finau (16), Westwood (15)
-6 Koepka (13).


4:55PM

Lead cut to four

Fleetwood has a putt for eagle at the 12th. Horribly, it goes uphill at the beginning and then goes down. Lowry has already putted out for par. Fleetwood lines it up perfectly but misjudges the weight and leaves it 3ft short. He rolls in his birdie putt to narrow Lowry's lead to four shots.

<span>Fleetwood makes birdie on the 12th to cut Lowry's lead to four shots</span> <span>Credit: REUTERS/Ian Walton </span>
Fleetwood makes birdie on the 12th to cut Lowry's lead to four shots Credit: REUTERS/Ian Walton

-15 Lowry (12)
-11 Fleetwood (12)
-7 Finau (15), Westwood (14)
-6 Willett (14), Fowler (13), Koepka (13).


4:44PM

Holmes in a spin

Fleetwood splits the fairway from the 12th tee. Lowry slices his a little and ends up in the hay down the right. 

Westwood's drive and approach to the 14th are perfect. If only his putter were so reliable. He has hit 90 per cent of his drives on to the fairway this week. 

He has 8ft for birdie and it breaks late and doesn't drop. He writes down par on his card. The wind is swirling as Lowry hacks out of the cabbage on to the fairway. A chink of light for Fleetwood.

Willett steers his par-saver putt down the wring path and falls one more stroke behind. 

JB Holmes is eight-over for the day and in deep trouble at the 12th after a triple bogey at the 11th. He started on -10 and drops two more strokes now to fall to level-par, 10-over after 12 holes today. 

4:31PM

Bogeys at 13 for Willett and Westwood

Westwood's is his third in succession, missing a 6ft chance for par. Both are now down to seven-under. 

On the 11th green, both Fleetwood and Lowry have tricky birdie putts from the front of the sticky greens. Fleetwood goes second and lags it to 2ft after watching Lowry give his too much and arrowing it 7ft past. He pulls his par-saver to the left and that is Lowry's fourth bogey of the day.

-15 Lowry (11)
-10 Fleetwood (11)
-7 Finau (14), Westwood (13), Willett (13), Fowler (11).

4:19PM

Lowry regains a six-shot lead

Lowry's from the back of the green is on the right line but dies on the second bounce, leaving him 5ft for par. He rattles it in and punches the air. Good hold, there. Fleetwood has an uphiller from closer in and whisks it to the left. He drops a stroke and Westwood does the same at the 12th, squeezing  his five-footer to the left of the hole. 

<span>Shane Lowry saves par</span> <span>Credit: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff </span>
Shane Lowry saves par Credit: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

-16 Lowry (10)
-10 Fleetwood (10)
-8 Westwood (12), Willett (12)
-7 Finau (13), Fowler (11), Koepka (10).


4:12PM

Fleetwood in the mire off the tee again

At the 10th he hooks the ball to the left so it lands on the knee in the dog leg in deep cabbage. His next stroke is well-executed, thrashing it out 120 yards to the back of  a front greenside hillock but he has given himself a tough up and down. Lowry, from the left of the fairway, fires his second through the green and into the fringe. The rain has dialled down, the gulls are back in the open and making a racket. 

On the 12th Willett looks a cert for recovering his lost shot at the first attempt after a fine wedge. 

Fleetwood chips his third to the 10th on to the green and it stops about 6ft in front. 

4:02PM

Pain on nine

The ninth is playing as the second most difficult hole today and both Fleetwood and Westwood show why off the tee, both of them sailing their tee shots into the rough to the right. Radar Riley says yardage is no use in this weather, you just have to feel. Both make decent recovery strokes into the gusting wind but Lowry will have to scramble for par from 120 yards in front of the green. The rain has relented somewhat but the wind is still up.

Lowry takes his third stroke first and fires it low with those remarkable hands to 15ft. Fleetwood, much closer in, about 30 yards short, needs to skid his wedge in and does so with poise and precision, slamming on the handbrake as it approaches the pin and rolls about 2ft past. 

Back-to-back bogeys for Lowry as he pushes his attempted par-saver to the left. Fleetwood sinks his tiddler and closes the gap to five strokes. Lowry makes the turn in 36, Fleetwood in 37.

Westwood drops a stroke at 11 on the drenched and gripping green, Willett too.  

Fowler starts the back nine as he did the first with a double bogey. 

-16 Lowry (9)
-11 Fleetwood (9)
-9 Westwood (11)
-7 Finau (11), ​Willett (11), Fowler (10), Koepka (9).


3:44PM

How is the rain affecting grips?

 

3:43PM

Rainy days and Sundays

As Paul McGinley says, links courses are built on sand which means that the the ball is beginning to stick. It's raining so heavily now you'd think they might suspend play. Nothing so far. 

<span>The rain buckets down</span> <span>Credit: Sky Sports </span>
The rain buckets down Credit: Sky Sports

Lowry has a 50-footer for birdie at the eighth through the Antrim monsoon puddles. He gets the range right of not the line, leaving 7ft or so for par.

Fleetwood has about 20ft for par after flaying his tee shot into the filth down the right and having to lay up. He leaves it about 3ft shy and drops a stroke to go to -11.

Lowry, too, drops a stroke as his par putt curls early around to the left.  

Westwood bounces straight back after dropping a stroke at the 9th with a birdie at the 10th, built on the back of a terrific second shot to 12ft in the driving rain. 

-17 Lowry (8)
-11 Fleetwood (8)
-10 Westwood (10)
-9 Fowler (9)
-8 Finau (10), ​Willett (10).



3:32PM

The two Ws

Both bogey the ninth, Willett hooking his 4ft par-saver, Westwood messing up his approach. It's pretty dreich out there at the moment. The wind is gusting, the rain is horizontal. 

<span>Westwood and Willett veer back and forth</span> <span>Credit: Richard Sellers/PA </span>
Westwood and Willett veer back and forth Credit: Richard Sellers/PA

 -18 Lowry (7)
-12 Fleetwood (7)
-9 Westwood (9), Fowler (8)
-8 Finau (10), ​Willett (9).


3:24PM

Lowry extends his lead

Shane Lowry wedges his third to within 3ft. Great birdie chance. Fleetwood has a good lie in the bunker and splashes out, rolling it 6ft past the pin for par. 

Fowler saves par at the eighth with a crisp 15-footer. Fleetwood taps in his par putt. Will Lowry extend his lead? The green undulates a little but it causes him no problems as he rolls it in. That's his third birdie in the last four holes.

-18 Lowry (7)
-12 Fleetwood (7)
-10 Westwood (8)
-9 Fowler (8), Willett (8)  
-8 Finau (9).



 

3:18PM

Bother at the seventh

Lowry torpedoes a 330 yard drive at the par-five 7th straight into a Bing Crosby lyric. Fleetwood is in the deep rough down the right, or 'onion bhaji' as David Howell calls it. Sky keeps telling us Lowry won the Irish Open as and amateur in similar conditions. We know. Fleetwood has a drop after his second stroke lay up but pitches his third into the bunker to the front left of the green. Lowry's second rolls to about 25 yards from the pin. It's sheeting it down now. 

3:04PM

Willett joins Fowler

Fleetwood was in bother off the tee at the par-three sixth, leaving his ball in the deep dip to the front and right of the green. Lowry is in the heart of the green about 25ft from the pin for birdie and in the cagoule-rattling hoolie, sensibly lags up. 

Fleetwood pitches to about 10ft and drains his par putt. Lowry rolls his in. As you were. Birdie for Westwood's playing partner Willett at the seventh launches him up to a tie for fourth. 

-17 Lowry (6)
-12 Fleetwood (6)
-10 Westwood (7)
-9 Fowler (7), Willett (7)  
-8 Finau (8).



2:54PM

Tit for tat

Koepka showed the way at the fifth with his eagle and Fleetwood, with a superb tee shot, almost follows suit off the pin, leaving him 18ft for eagle. He has to settle for a birdie, the same as Lowry, who wasn't on the green with his tee shot. Hence Fleetwood's first birdie can't eat into Lowry's lead. 

-17 Lowry (5)
-12 Fleetwood (5)
-10 Westwood (7)
-9 Fowler (6) 
-8 Finau (7), Willett (6).



2:45PM

First birdie of the day for Lowry

Made possible by a glorious second shot to the par-four fourth, which pitched his ball over the ridge and about 7ft short of the pin. Fleetwood has left himself 30ft for birdie and can't make it as the rain thickens. Lowry has no such problems. Back to 16-under for the leader.

-16 Lowry (4)
-11 Fleetwood (4)
-10 Westwood (6)
-9 Fowler (5) 
-8 Willett (6), Rose (5)



Koepka makes an eagle at the fifth to recover half the ground of four successive bogeys. 

2:32PM

Westwood moves on up

Westwood had a tiddler on the fifth for birdie and sinks it. That's bogey-birdie-birdie-par-birdie for him today. 

JB Holmes makes his second bogey of the day at the fourth and and falls back to -7. Koepka has made four successive bogeys and slips to -5

-15 Lowry (3)
-11 Fleetwood (3)
-10 Westwood (5)
-9 Fowler (4) 
-8 Willett (5), Rose (4)



 

2:27PM

Lowry recovers four-stroke lead

Fleetwood, in trouble off the third tee after opening the face for too long, chips from 25 yards to 6ft to give him a good chance of saving par. Lowry has a 35ft birdie chance and pushes it to the right, leaving himself a gimme for par. 

Fleetwood lips out his downhill putt and that restores Lowry's lead to four strokes. 

Koepka is disintegrating before our eyes, another wild shot at the fourth leaves him scowling. 

-15 Lowry (3)
-11 Fleetwood (3)
-9 Westwood (4), Fowler (4) 
-8 Willett (5), Rose (4), Holmes (3) 


2:21PM

Fowler on the march, Koepka on the slide

He joins Westwood on -9 with a 20ft birdie putt on the fourth that turned in from the right in the last couple of inches. Brooks Koepka has racked up his third successive bogey and slips back to -6 after three holes.  

2:17PM

As you were

JB Holmes makes par at the second. Behind him, off the tee, Fleetwood finds the thick dandelions down the left and needs an excellent recovery shot to find the fairway. Lowry is in the first cut in front of the fairway bunker, 170 yards from the pin.

Rose misses a 9ft par putt at the 8th to drop a stroke to eight-under and Westwood secures par at the 4th to take sole hold of 3rd place. 

Rickie Fowler has undone the damage of the first-hole double bogey with birdies at the second and third, by virtue of wonderful drives.

Fleetwood's third to the second green, having had to lay up, is superb, using the wind to give him maybe 10ft for birdie. Lowry, from 70 yards, doesn't hit his pitch as sweetly and his ball plugs about 16ft from the hole for his birdie chance. 

Lowry gives his birdie effort every chance, judging the weight right but it stays up on the left and dribbling a couple of inches past. He stays on 15-under. Fleetwood can use Lowry's example to read it but his putt also stays up. 

 -15 Lowry (2)  
-12 Fleetwood (2)  
-9 Westwood (4)
-8 Willett (4) Fowler (3), Rose (3), Holmes (3) 


2:02PM

Lowry in trouble

His second shot to the first green is a mirror of Spieth's, losing control out of the rough and arrowing it into the deepest greenside bunker, front left of the pin, 50+ yards from the hole. Fleetwood, from much safer territory, pitches perfectly to within 8ft to give himself a fine birdie chance. Potentially a significant swing here.

Westwood, meanwhile, birdies the second  and third, chipping in from the swale-like ridge to the front of the green. He's up to nine-under now.

Lowry splashes out about 45ft from the pin, leaving him a monster for par that he leaves about 8ft short. 

Fleetwood's birdie chance will break late from the right but he doesn't catch it right and has to settle for par. Lowry lines up his bogey putt and drains it.

 -15 Lowry (1)
 -12 Fleetwood (1)
 -9 Westwood (3), Rose (2)
 -8 Thomas (8), Willett (3), Koepka (1), Holmes (1)


1:48PM

Last group out

A tremendous roar greets Shane Lowry as he and Tommy Fleetwood stagger their entrances on to the first tee box and shake hands.  

 Lowry is patently enjoying himself, flashing smiles at everyone.

Ahead, JB Holmes did a Fowler off the first tee and flayed it out of bounds to the left. He has to have another go and is staring down the barrel of a double bogey.

Holmes' funereal pace and travails hold up the final two. Fleetwood has the honour . He opts for an iron off the tee and hits it safely and sweetly up the middle. Lowry plays safe with an iron and though he hooks it left into the rough, it is in bounds.  

1:41PM

First fails

Oh dear - spoke too soon. Westwood's 5ft par putt at the first horseshoes out and he drops a stroke to -7 , just like Stenson. Willett makes his putt, though, and stays on seven-under. 

Rickie Fowler is in deep shtuck off the first tee, hitting it out of bounds down the left. 

Spieth's tee shot at three is another wild one. His short-game has saved him all week, all year.

Fowler drops two strokes at the first, missing his 8ft bogey putt. 

1:31PM

Spieth's hot putter

Up on the second green Jordan Spieth sweeps in an 18ft birdie putt to move up to -8 and one hole back Westwood and Willett both lag up close enough to be confident of making pars. 

1:26PM

The two Ws

Willett and Westwood tee off their fourth rounds, Yorks v Notts. Both begin with solid efforts, Willett in the first cut up the left, Westwood  up the middle. Willett hits his second stroke to the right of the green, hoping for it to come back on the wind but it sticks to the ridge. Both leave themselves about 50ft for birdie.

Jon Rahm does, indeed,  have to settle for a double bogey. He falls back to five-under. 

Justin Thomas has made three birdies in succession at three, four and five, to take a share of eighth place at seven-under. 

 

1:17PM

Rahm in a spot of bother

Spieth scrambles par on the first, Stenson, who was far-betetr placed after his opening two shots, makes a bogey to drop back to five-under.

Jon Rahm, using a driver for the first time off the 1st tee this week, finds the fairway bunker. His playing partner Tony Finau is in the rough further back on the left.

Bob MacIntyre rattles in another birdie on 10, his third of the round, and he is now five-under. 

Rahm's bunker shot is a stinker, taking on the steep bank and thinning it. He will have to have another go. Taking the driver means that bunker bang in the heart of the fairway set 300 yards is a genuine hazard. He does chip out and leaves himself about 130 yards to the pin for his fourth shot at the par-four. 

1:04PM

Lowry limbers up

The leader looks super-relaxed as he heads to the range.

<span>Credit: Sky Sports </span>
Credit: Sky Sports

 Spieth's second to the first, difficult lie, is thrashed to the left and skids into the greenside bunker. Tough hole, this one, playing third-most difficult so far today. Stenson's second catches the wind and flies over the pin and into the rough on the ridge protecting the valley of the green. He'll have a pitch back into the wind which should help him stick the ball close to the pin.  

1:00PM

Champions

Walks up the last to a resounding reception, having picked up another stroke at 17 to climb to -3. Henrik Stenson and Jordan Spieth are on the first tee, the two champions who immediately preceded Molinari in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Stenson drives safely, taking a left-to right ride on the breeze, to the fairway. Spieth is too far right, in the rough, unfortunately a few yards shy of some cabbage advantageously trampled down by the galleries.  

Molinari drains his par putt to sign for a blemish free 66. 

12:46PM

Morning movers

Has started encouragingly with birdies at the second and fourth. and is now four-under with 13 to play, having slid his birdie putt on five to the right from 8ft. Bob MacIntyre has made two birdies in his first eight holes and is four-under.  He stood up to Kyle Stanley on Friday over poor etiquette and is standing up to the wind today. 

 

12:33PM

Good afternoon

We begin coverage of the fourth round of The Open from Royal Portrush with the leading 18 golfers about to begin their final 18 holes. 

Because of the incoming storms, tee times have been brought forward to the following:

12.27 Xander Schauffele (USA), Cameron Smith (Aus)
12.37 Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Andrew Putnam (USA)
1247 Alex Noren (Swe), Matt Kuchar (USA)
12.57 Henrik Stenson (Swe), Jordan Spieth (USA)
13.07 Tony Finau (USA), Jon Rahm (Spa)
13.17 Danny Willett, Lee Westwood
13.27 Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler (USA)
13.37 JB Holmes (USA), Brooks Koepka (USA)
13.47 Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry







 

And the top places on the leaderboard have not been seriously challenged by this morning's play. Hertfordshire's Tom Lewis, twice winner of the Portuguese Masters, has moved up to four-under with two birdies from his last two holes, four and five, and defending champion, Francesco Molinari, added to his two-under front nine with and eagle at the 12th, to be four-under for today and -2 for the tournament with three to play, 14 strokes behind Lowry on -16.

Those final nine pairs currently stand like this:

-16 Lowry
-12 Fleetwood
-10 Holmes
-9 Koepka, Rose
-8 Fowler, Westwood
-7 Willett, Rahm, Finau, Spieth
-6 Stenson, Noren, Kuchar, Frittelli, Putnam, Smith
-5 Schauffele. 






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