Ten Notes to Know: The Open, Round Three

July 20, 2019
Justin Ray

1. Shane Lowry played one of the most brilliant rounds in Open Championship history on Saturday, firing 63. Lowry posted a 54-hole total score of 197, the best in the history of the Championship. The previous record of 198 was shot by Tom Lehman at Royal Lytham. Lehman played his final Open Championship round on Friday at Royal Portrush.

2. Lowry holds a four-stroke lead over Tommy Fleetwood entering the final round. Since 1900, this is the 26th instance of a player leading The Open by four or more shots with one round remaining. Of the previous 25, 22 of them went on to win.

3. Fleetwood is alone in second place, his best career 54-hole position in a major championship. Tommy shot a bogey-free 66 on Saturday, his fourth career bogey-free round in a major, and second this week. Fleetwood will try to become the first to win a major when trailing by four or more entering the final round since Dustin Johnson at the 2016 U.S. Open – when DJ trailed…. Shane Lowry by 4.

4. Tommy is trying to become the first Open Championship winner from England since Sir Nick Faldo in 1992. The last Open winner from England not named Faldo was Tony Jacklin fifty years ago.

5. Lowry, amazingly, is the first player from the Republic of Ireland to hold the outright 54-hole lead ever at The Open. Ireland does have a pair of Open titles to its credit – Padraig Harrington in both 2007 and 2008.

6. Brooks Koepka shot 67, and is tied for fourth entering the final round. Koepka is just the sixth player since 2000 to be in the top-five after 54 holes in all four majors in a season. He’s obviously on the hunt for more than this – but with a top-three finish, Brooks would become the first player in the modern era to finish third or better in all four majors in a season.

7. Koepka faces an uphill climb of seven strokes to catch Lowry. The last man to win any major when trailing by seven or more through 54 holes was Paul Lawrie twenty years ago (10 back in 1999).

8. Lee Westwood started the day just one off the lead, shot under par Saturday, yet finds himself eight shots back through 54 holes. Westwood, age 46, is trying to become the oldest Open champion since Old Tom Morris in 1867.

9. Only one player – Tommy Fleetwood – is within five strokes of Lowry through 54 holes. Over the last fifty years, only five percent of majors have been won by players trailing by six or more entering the final round.

10. Sunday is the final scheduled day of men’s major championship golf this year. This will be the earliest the major season has concluded in the men’s game since 1971 – that year, the PGA was held in Florida, so it was moved to February. The Open wrapped up on July 15, ending the season.

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