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'I'd be lying if I said Love Island wasn't on' - How Lowry unwinds ahead of the biggest day of career

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

11:19 21 Jul 2019

After shooting an eight-under-par third round of 63 yesterday Shane Lowry will bring a four-shot lead into the final day of the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush. 

The Offaly man has described the round, which set a new course record, as the greatest of his life. His energy and adrenaline could be sensed in the press conference afterward as the Esker Hills clubman found it difficult to speak at times with excitement.

"The most incredible day I've ever had on the golf course, I honestly can't explain what it was like...the crowd were incredible, I just can't believe what it was like, I can imagine it was quite difficult for J.B. [Holmes] to play with that.

"I don't really remember much of the round, it was one of those where it all happens so quickly...obviously it is one of the best scores I've ever shot but I think the golf course, we got very lucky with the weather today...if you were hitting decent shots you were getting good result so that's what happened today.

"Every time I had a putt I just wanted to hole it because I wanted to hear that roar, it was just incredible.

For the last 10 years, since winning the Irish Open in 2009, Lowry has been considered by many to be one of golf's most likable characters. A genuine guy who wears his heart on his sleeve; a fans favourite. And the fans are certainly loving him at Portrush. Chants of 'Olé, Olé, Olé' were ringing out as he finished his third round in what has effectively and quite unexpectedly become a home major.

"I grew up four hours away so I kind of felt I could come here and come under the radar a bit, that's what was nice about this week but obviously, I'm not quite under the radar anymore but hopefully, I'm the one they're talking about tomorrow evening.

"I thought I dealt with it very well today...walking from the green to the next tee the people were literally a yard away from you roaring in your face as loud as they can and I mean you've to get up then and try and hit a drive down a tight fairway, it's fairly difficult so I thought I dealt with it fairly well today and hopefully I do the same tomorrow."

Lowry has been in this position before and took a commanding four-shot lead into the 2016 US Open at Oakmont.  Three consecutive bogeys on holes 14, 15 and 16 ended his chances though and he finished the tournament tied for second place.

When asked about that tough experience and how it may help him going into the final round he joked "I was waiting for it to come up." His sense of maturity though is notable and he's not afraid to face it; he clearly took a lot away from the defeat.

"I learned a lot that day, I learned a lot about myself and I'm going to learn a lot about myself tomorrow, obviously tomorrow is a huge day in my career but it probably doesn't mean as much to me as it did then which is going to make it a little bit easier...that's a long time ago, I don't think I'm much of a different golfer but I feel like I'm different a person now and that's what will help me tomorrow.

"The time in Oakmont my golf just meant a lot more to me back then than it does now, I'm not saying it doesn't mean everything because it's my career but I've just got certain things in my life that make it different, I've got a family now, no matter what I shoot tomorrow my two-year-old will be there waiting for me.

"Who knows when I'll be in this position again? It's taken me three years to get back here...I'm going to go out and take the bad shots on the chin and take the good shots and try and capitalise on that and I'm just going to be myself and play my game and see where it leaves me."

The 32-year-old's honesty is also striking. His 'normal-ness' is what people tend to like about him so much. When asked about how he's been coping with the pressure and trying to unwind after his round he gave an answer that sent the room into laughter.

"To bring myself down I watched myself on TV, I watched the highlights on BBC...we did the same thing we do every night; watch TV, I'd be lying if I said Love Island wasn't on, we've got a good Irish man in there now."

After his phenomenal third day of action he wasn't afraid to talk about his insecurities either or how he's letting himself dream.

"When I'm nervous I like to talk about it. There's no point bottling it up...then I'm just going to become too anxious and nervous.

"I'll go to bed tonight thinking about holding the Claret Jug tomorrow evening, it's only natural, we're human, we're not robots.

"I just have to do what I've been doing all year and go out there and shoot as good a score as I can and hopefully that's good enough."

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