Shane Lowry just misses record-breaking 61 in third round of US PGA Championship

Ireland’s Shane Lowry narrowly failed to card the first 61 in men’s major championship history as he surged into contention for the 106th US PGA Championship at Valhalla.

The 2019 Open champion needed to birdie the 18th to write his name in the history books, but missed from 12 feet and had to settle for a bogey-free third round of 62.

That matched the mark initially set by Branden Grace in the 2017 Open, which was equalled by Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele in the opening round of last year’s US Open and achieved again by Schauffele on Thursday.

Lowry set the clubhouse target on 13 under par and, after starting the day eight shots off the lead, ended it just two behind Schauffele and Collin Morikawa, with Sahith Theegala alone in third on 14 under.

On a densely-packed leaderboard, Bryson DeChambeau chipped in on the 18th for an eagle to join Lowry and Viktor Hovland on 13 under, with Ryder Cup partners Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre another stroke back.

Lowry made four birdies in a row from the second and picked up further shots on the seventh and ninth to race to the turn in 29 and become the first player to break 30 on either nine in any of Valhalla’s four US PGA Championships.

The 37-year-old, who is ranked a lowly 168th for putting on the PGA Tour this season, then holed from more than 30 feet for birdie on the 13th and 14th and just six feet on the 17th to set up his shot at history.

The par-five 18th had played the easiest hole in the first two rounds and although Lowry gave himself a great chance with a superb third shot, his birdie attempt was low and left of the hole.

“It feels pretty good,” Lowry said. “To be honest I would have liked it if I went one lower and I’m disappointed to miss it, but I went out with a job to get myself back in the tournament and I did that.”

Watching the highlights of some of the 160 feet of putts he holed, Lowry added on CBS: “My God I did hole a few putts today.

“It’s been a long time since I have seen this so I’m not going to apologise for it. It felt similar to the third round (63) when I won the Open.

“When I holed that putt on 14 I thought if I could get to 18 on eight under I could eagle the last – I was aware of the chance to shoot 61 from a long way out.”

Playing partner Rose matched Lowry shot for shot with five birdies in the first seven holes before dropping a shot on the ninth, the 2013 US Open champion responding with three birdies on the back nine to shoot 64 and reach 12 under.

“Rosey and I got off to a great start and we fed off each other,” Lowry added. “We were egging each other on.

“It will take a lot of the same [to win] tomorrow, somebody could come from behind as the course is gettable. I’m going to enjoy what I did today and go out tomorrow and fight hard and give my best to win this trophy.”

Asked to describe his 64, Rose joked: “Pretty average compared to my playing partner. But no, today was a lot of fun.

“Felt like we got off to the dream start, actually had the exact same scorecard the first seven holes. We were both five under and rolling and definitely quite aware of making some progress up the leaderboard.

“This year has been very difficult. I haven’t seen much go my way in terms of tournament golf so it’s nice to see it appear in the events I really want it to.

“That’s what’s motivating me to stick with it and keep working hard, to try to give myself like the Indian summer of my career. Try to still steal one or two of these (majors) to really make it a fantastic career.”

Rory McIlroy made four birdies in a row from the seventh to get into contention before costly bogeys on the 14th and 16th dropped the Co Down man seven shots off the pace.

And a day after shooting 66 just hours after being arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer, Scottie Scheffler struggled to a 73 – his first over par round since August last year – to fall back to seven under.


No votes yet.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *