Lowry leads U.S. Open by four through 54

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2016, 12:39 pm

OAKMONT, Pa. – The early-morning wakeup call was worthwhile for Shane Lowry, who extended his U.S. Open lead from two shots to four heading into the final round at Oakmont.

With only four holes to finish in his third round, Lowry made a pair of birdies and a key par save on 18 to polish off a 65 and move to 7-under 203, the lowest 54-hole score at an Oakmont U.S. Open.

“I would have taken four pars and went home for a little rest,” said Lowry, who was assessed a penalty in his second round on Saturday. “It was a really good morning’s work for me, and I’m looking forward to getting out there this afternoon and seeing what I can do.”

After beginning his morning with a pair of bogeys, Andrew Landry closed his round with back-to-back birdies, including a 45-footer on 18, to cap an eventful round of 70 and move into the final group.

The last group will tee off at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Dustin Johnson played his remaining five holes in 1 under to move into a share of second place, four shots back, with Lee Westwood and Daniel Summerhays another stroke behind.

In a preview of this afternoon’s final round, there were plenty of thrills and spills after the restart.

Lowry pushed forward with birdies on 15 (11 feet) and 17 (7 feet), but perhaps even more important was his two-putt from 70 feet on the final green to stay four clear.

“That’s one of the best rounds of my career,” said Lowry, 29, who has three career titles, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last summer.

The last player to lose the U.S. Open after holding a 54-hole lead was Payne Stewart in 1998.  

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Landry, who was only two shots back when the horn blew, found three bunkers in his first two holes. But he two-putted for birdie on 17, then canned a 40-footer on the last to join Lowry in the last group.

Landry, ranked 624th in the world, would become the first player to win the U.S. Open in his major-championship debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.

“I’m confident with my game and the setup of the golf course,” he said. “It suits my game perfectly. I drive the ball well. I putt the ball well. Get a hot driver today, and who knows what can happen.”

The early start wasn’t as kind to Sergio Garcia (72), who made a pair of bogeys coming home and is now seven behind.

Sleeping in Sunday morning were Branden Grace and Jason Day, who polished off third-round 66s late Saturday afternoon. Day, the world No. 1, could become the biggest comeback winner of a major, after opening with 76 and sitting in a tie for 100th after the first round. But with Lowry’s late-round surge, Day will need to erase an eight-shot deficit in the final round.

Despite nearly three inches of rain in a 36-hour span earlier in the week, Oakmont has surrendered only six under-par totals through three rounds. That number should dwindle by day’s end, with tucked hole locations and lightning-fast green speeds expected in the final round.

Lowry has only one top-10 in 12 worldwide starts this year, but he enjoys some historical symmetry with Angel Cabrera. When Cabrera won at Oakmont in 2007, he was ranked 41st in the world. Lowry’s world rank entering this week: No. 41.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

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“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”