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The Open day three: Lowry leads as he chases maiden major title

The Open day three: Lowry leads as he chases maiden major title
© Reuters
The Irishman has a four-shot lead at Royal Portrush.

Shane Lowry will be buoyed on by a fervent home crowd as the County Offaly man chases a maiden major title victory at The Open on Sunday.

The 32-year-old boasts a four-shot lead at Royal Portrush heading into the final round.

Here, PA looks at a hectic third round on Saturday on Northern Ireland's north coast.

Tweet of the day

Irishman Padraig Harrington praises England's Lee Westwood for sticking to the spirit of the sport rather than chasing personal gain. Westwood found himself caught in heavy rough on the 10th and wound up dropping a shot. The 46-year-old still sits on eight under par though, in a tie for sixth place.

Stat of the day

The Open Championship 2019 – Day Three – Royal Portrush Golf Club
Brooks Koepka, pictured, might have struggled with his putting at Royal Portrush but has had precious few problems hitting par (Niall Carson/PA)

Brooks Koepka had stretched 26 holes without a bogey until he slipped up at the 13th on Saturday. The aggressive American had birdied the 12th as he eyed a move into title contention. But unlike Friday, when he picked up shots at both the 12th and 13th, here he ceded ground.

Top shot

Dylan Frittelli endured a mixed one-under round, for an overall score of sixth. The 29-year-old South African's third-round highlight however was undoubtedly this eagle effort at the seventh.

Quote of the day

The Open Championship 2019 – Day One – Royal Portrush Golf Club
Kyle Stanley, pictured, was in no mood to downplay his spat with Bob MacIntyre (Richard Sellers/PA)

"Listen, he's a young player, I've been out here a while, so I don't feel the need to be schooled on the rules of golf."

Kyle Stanley bites back at Bob MacIntyre, intensifying their row after the American's ball hit the mother of the Scot's caddie on Friday.

Living the dream

And so now we know how it feels to tee off at The Open as a mere mortal, or at least something close. Royal Portrush pro Gary McNeill partnered Paul Waring as the Englishman's marker, with an odd 73 making the cut. McNeill won the Irish Amateur Championship in 1991, so is obviously no slouch, but admitted standing on the first tee, his club almost floated out of his hands. "I might need a lie down after all that!" said McNeill. "I felt okay on the first tee, but as soon as I took the club back it felt like a feather. It was just great fun, so many members were out there and people I knew. The reception was unbelievable."

On the up

Danny Willett matched the second-best score of the week with a six-under 65 to jump into contention. The third round of a major is not called moving day for nothing, and England's Willett boasted the biggest upswing of a hectic Saturday. The 2016 Masters champion is perhaps too deep to add another major title on Sunday, but will doubtless hope the bad weather plays straight into his hands.

Clarke reflects

Home favourite Darren Clarke took a seven at the 18th on Friday to miss the cut, and walked off the last disconsolate and without speaking to the media. A day later, and having had time to reflect, Clarke took the chance to thank his compatriot fans for their support. Having lobbied so hard and so long for The Open to come back to Northern Ireland, missing the cut must have hit the 2011 champion hard. But as time ticks on, he will surely come to appreciate his time in history.

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Lee Westwood pictured on July 19, 2019
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Westwood continues form in bid for first major at the Open
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