The final day of The Open at Royal Portrush is underway today, with local Irish favourite Shane Lowry battling Englishman Tommy Fleetwood amid warnings of dire weather to come.
The ‘lazy’ gofer, who was teased about he weight and once said he wished he was a rock star, was enjoying a six stroke lead over Fleetwood at 3.30pm as he looks to win his first major.
He faces a race against time as the current light rain and 16mph winds give way to heavier downpours and 35mph gusts later on.
Shane Lowry was enjoying a five stroke lead over Tommy Fleetwood at 3.15pm as he looks to win his first major and he may well need every shot if things deteriorate as predicted
Fleetwood at a rainy Royal Portrush today, where the current light rain and 16mph winds give way to heavier downpours and 35mph gusts later on
Lowry, who has a daughter, Iris, with his nurse wife Wendy Honnor, has captured the public’s imagination with his down-to-earth approach.
He recently admitted he uses Love Island to relax and added, ‘We’ve got a good Irishman on there now’.
Now he faces the fight of his life to triumph against the elements to win a £1.5million payday.
First man out Ashton Turner carded a 68 to show what was possible but he benefited from the calmest and driest conditions.
Of those out on the course former Open champion Stewart Cink and Dutchman Joost Luiten had three birdies in their first seven holes to get to three under for the tournament.
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat was also three under for his round, although that was only good enough to get him back to two over.
England’s Paul Casey enjoyed a good start to his 42nd birthday with two early birdies to return to level par.
It was a long way behind Lowry, on 18 under, but only four outside the top 20 with that likely to improve if the weather arrives as predicted.
Strong winds and rain meant the chances for the players hoping to catch Lowry – led by Fleetwood at 12 under and Lee Westwood at -9.
A sea of raincoats and umbrellas among the watching crowds at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland today
Lowry with his wife, Wendy, and their young daughter, Iris, at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships