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As it happened: The Open, final round

We followed all the Sunday afternoon action from Royal Portrush as Shane Lowry chased Major glory.

Image : Oisin Keniry/INPHO
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Shane Lowry Lowry leads by four. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Good afternoon and welcome along to The42‘s live coverage of the fourth and final round of The Open from Royal Portrush, where Shane Lowry holds a four-shot lead and stands on the brink of history on the Dunluce Links.

After a truly magnificent eight-under-par round of 63 on Saturday, Lowry’s total of 16-under is the lowest after 54 holes in Open history, putting the Offaly native in a great position as he chases his first Major title.

Lowry has, of course, been in this situation before having held a four-shot lead heading into the final round of the 2016 US Open at Oakmount, but a Sunday afternoon 76 that day saw his hopes evaporate.

The inclement weather has closed in on Royal Portrush, with the winds up and the rain falling quite heavily, but this is Lowry’s date with destiny and just 18 holes stand between him and a famous, famous win on Irish soil.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood is his nearest challenger, but there is a dangerous chasing pack including JB Holmes and Brooks Koepka, all of whom who will be hoping to reel the leader in as the afternoon unfolds.

Stick with us and we’ll bring you all the drama as it happens!

AS IT STANDS: The fourth round is well underway at Royal Portrush but the leaders aren’t due on the first tee for another hour or so. Lowry plays alongside Fleetwood in the final group at 1.47pm, with Holmes and Koepka in the penultimate pairing 10 minutes earlier.

Fleetwood and American Holmes are also chasing their maiden Major titles, but world number one Koepka has not failed to finish in the top two in all three Majors so far this season, winning the PGA Championship.

World number three Justin Rose, who finished tied for second at last year’s Open, is also on nine-under.

Two of the most talented players on tour never to have won a Major, Lee Westwood and Rickie Fowler, tee off at eight-under.

Jordan Spieth, Open champion two years ago, Irish Open winner Jon Rahm, Danny Willett and Tony Finau also form a dangerous group at seven-under with the potential to shoot themselves into contention. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 12.38.52 Source: The Open

Some of the early scenes from Royal Portrush.

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club A spectator battles with their umbrella in gusting winds. Source: Niall Carson

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Graeme McDowell was among the early starters. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Russell Knox stays dry. Source: Niall Carson

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Defending champion Francesco Molinari. Source: Richard Sellers

Despite the gusting winds — it’s now up to 22mph — the early scoring would suggest this course is still manageable and the pins still gettable. Defending champion Francesco Molinari has showed the way after closing his championship with an impressive 66, with the Italian finishing on three-under.

Lowry, meanwhile, looks very relaxed as he finalises his preparations on the range. He tees off in 45 minutes. Not long now!

ON THE TEE: Right, it’s time for the serious business as the final groups begin their pursuit of the Claret Jug. Jon Rahm, starting the day on seven-under, has just opened with a double-bogey six on the first. A nightmare start for the Spaniard. 

  • 1.27pm – Rickie Fowler (-8), Justin Rose (-9)
  • 1.37pm – Brooks Koepka (-9), JB Holmes (-10)
  • 1.47pm – Tommy Fleetwood (-12), Shane Lowry (-16).

FAST START: Jordan Spieth won the last of his four Majors at the Open in 2017 and the American has started his chase in perfect fashion, carding a birdie three on the opening hole to move to eight-under.

However, Lee Westwood drops a shot at the first hurdle, the Englishman missing a three-foot par putt on the first hole, and back on the tee, Rickie Fowler has just pushed his opening shot right and out of bounds. 

Jordan Spieth comes off the 15th hole Jordan Spieth. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

BIRDIE BLITZ! Justin Thomas is on fire out there despite the increasingly tough conditions, as the American’s delightful chip on the par-five seventh sets up a tap-in birdie. That’s his fourth in seven holes today and he’s up to tied sixth on eight-under.

What we’d give for Shane Lowry’s name to be still on top of that leaderboard come 6pm this evening. He’s making the walk from the range to the first tee now and what a reception he’s about to receive. 

A view of the leaderboard ahead of the final day Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

DROPPED SHOTS: Rickie Fowler has double-b0geyed the first after going OB off the tee and now JB Holmes has done the same, snap-hooking his opening tee shot left and outside the white stakes. Right, Lowry’s on the tee…

‘On the tee from the Republic of Ireland…Shane Lowry’

A huge ovation for Lowry as he steps up on the first tee, the Claret Jug in the background. There are tricolours everywhere and after Fleetwood arrows one down the middle, Lowry doesn’t strike it as sweetly as he would have liked, finding the rough on the left-hand side. He’s in play and we’re off and running at Royal Portrush!

The first hole is proving to be a lot trickier today in this wind and Brooks Koepka becomes the latest player to drop a shot straight away. The American sees his par putt slide by and he’s back to eight-under.

JB Holmes, meanwhile, walks away with a double after going out of bounds off the tee. He’s also back to eight-under. 

NERVY START: Lowry’s ball isn’t lying badly in the rough but faced with a 216-yard second shot, he finds the bunker short of the green. The Clara man finds the upper level of the putting surface but backspin out of the sand means he leaves himself with a long par putt, which comes up around eight feet short.

With Tommy Fleetwood missing his birdie attempt to card a tap-in par four, Lowry holds his nerve brilliantly in front of huge galleries to sink the bogey putt. He walks off with a five and the damage is limited. 

AS IT STANDS: Lowry’s lead from playing partner Fleetwood is now three shots, while Lee Westwood has picked up a shot on the third to move to nine-under alongside Justin Rose.

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 14.04.38 Source: The Open

BACK-TO-BACK BOGEYS: Is Brooks falling out of contention? The world number one has dropped two shots in his opening two holes, as he misses his latest par putt to the left. He’s now two-over and seven-under for the championship.

PAR FIVES: It has been a nervy start for Lowry but he walks off the second with a par. He takes the driver off the tee and although it just trickles into the light rough, the 32-year-old plays a fine second, putting himself in prime position to attack the pin on the back ridge.

Lowry then tried to chase one up towards the pin at the back from 80 yards out but again left himself short and his birdie attempt doesn’t come back quite enough and it’s a tap-in five.

Fleetwood, meanwhile, had the chance to cut Lowry’s lead to two after an exquisite third into 10 feet but it was a poor putt from Englishman, who also settles for a five. 

The final group move onto the par-three third. Lowry has had three birdies on this hole this week. 

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Source: David Davies

RICKIE! After a double-bogey on the first, Fowler has rebounded strongly to go birdie-birdie-birdie and suddenly the American — still chasing that first Major — is back up to nine-under.

BACK TO FOUR! Lowry, you sense, is just settling into his task after those initial nerves. He finds the putting surface off the tee and after finishing pin high, rolls the long 40-foot putt up to the hole for another tap-in par. 

Fleetwood, meanwhile, pushes his tee-shot right and although he plays the chip shot nicely, the Englishman misses another putt — this time from eight feet — and cards his first bogey of the day. Lowry’s lead is four shots again. 

My word, what has happened to Brooks Koepka? The PGA Championship winner has fallen completely off the pace after starting bogey-bogey-bogey-bogey. He drops back to five-under, 10 shots off the lead.

ON THE MOVE! Lee Westwood bogeyed the first but since then, the Englishman has had three birdies in four holes and he’s suddenly just five shots off Lowry.

Things aren’t going quite as well out there for Jordan Spieth, who after picking up a shot on the second, has bogeyed the third, fourth and seventh to fall back to five-under. 

BOOM! Lowry leads The Open by five shots at Royal Portrush! After splitting the fourth fairway with a three-wood, the Irishman plays a magnificent second from 187 yards, moving it from right to left to finish below the hole, around eight feet short.

Fleetwood is up first and can’t quite convert his birdie attempt from range, but Lowry makes absolutely no mistake, nervelessly draining the putt, to move to 16-under. 

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Lowry leads by five. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

AS IT STANDS: It’s looking good for Shane Lowry but there’s a long way to go yet. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 14.44.30 Source: The Open

Despite the weather, there are huge crowds following Shane Lowry around the Dunluce Links. 

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Lowry drains his birdie putt on four. Source: David Davies

CLUTCH! As the rain hammers down, and Fleetwood puts pressure on Lowry by carding his first birdie of the day on five, the leader again shows nerves of steel to follow suit for back-to-back birdies. 

Lowry moves to 17-under but that was definitely a missed chance for Fleetwood, who found the green with a booming tee-shot and was putting for eagle. The Englishman hasn’t quite got a read of the greens so far. 

That’s more like it from Brooks Koepka after a woeful start. An eagle two on the fifth sees him claw two of those four dropped shots back, but he is unable to maintain that momentum on the next, as his birdie attempt runs out of steam. 

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club The world number one is two-over through six. Source: Richard Sellers

A PAIR OF THREES: Both Lowry and Fleetwood walk off the sixth with a par apiece. The leader found the centre of the putting surface with another really solid swing and after his birdie attempt from range starts right and stays right, he mops up from three feet for a par. 

Fleetwood, meanwhile, had to work harder for his par after a poor tee-shot but he does brilliantly to get up-and-down from the hallow to ensure Lowry’s lead remains at five. On they go to the par-five seventh.

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Fleetwood is level par through six. Source: David Davies

On the seventh tee, Lowry is first up again and fires a bullet down the middle to put himself in great position and pile the pressure on Fleetwood, who is in serious trouble down the right. The Englishman was watching it very anxiously and may have landed in a bush. 

G-MAC! Up at the 18th green, Graeme McDowell receives a huge ovation as his championship draws to a close. After a birdie at the first, the local man is five-over for the day and three-over for the tournament.

British Open Golf Source: Jon Super

MASTERFUL FROM LOWRY! After that booming tee-shot, he chases one up towards the front of the green and then shows his short-game class with a beautifully-judged pitch to within four feet — and he rolls home the birdie. 

Fleetwood scrambles to save his par from the sand but Lowry’s lead is now out to six shots. The Offaly man, who has carded three birdies in four holes, is two-under for the round. 

Not the final round Graeme McDowell would have wanted as he finished with a 77, but the Portrush man is very proud as he speaks to Sky Sports.

“For a guy who grew up here in this town, it’s the realisation of a dream to have The Open championship come back here,” he said. “It has been an amazing week and I wish I could have played better for them [the fans] but I’ve enjoyed every moment.”

AS IT STANDS: The current state of play as Lowry and Fleetwood tee-off at the eighth hole.  

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 15.29.55 Source: The Open

Incredible support and scenes at Royal Portrush. Where are you following the final round from?

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Source: David Davies

WEATHER UPDATE: It is now absolutely teeming down at Royal Portrush. 

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club The spectators are braving the conditions. Source: Richard Sellers

Oh wow. Justin Rose, into the teeth of the wind and rain on the ninth, has just shanked his tee-shot. You don’t often see that from the pros. The Englishman — three-over for the round — is enduring a tough day out there. 

MISSED CHANCE: Lowry’s lead remains at six but he could have, and maybe should have, extended it to seven shots there. Fleetwood drops another on the eighth, leaving Lowry with a putt to move further ahead, but he can’t quite save his par either. Bogeys for both. 

Back at Esker Hills, Shane Lowry’s home club, there is a solid crew following every twist and turn of this final round from Offaly. 

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Lee Westwood responds to a dropped shot on the ninth with a glorious birdie on the next, the Englishman playing a superb second during that almighty downpour. He’s back to 10-under for the championship, but still seven behind Lowry.

While the rain appeared to abate briefly, it continues to hammer down now and the longer this goes on, the more concern there will be over the state of the putting surfaces. 

BACK-TO-BACK BOGEYS: Lowry drops another shot on the ninth hole and his lead as the final group hit the turn is back to five.

Both he and Fleetwood missed the fairway off the tee, but the Englishman played a delightful chip in the rain to set up a par four, while Lowry left himself with too much work to do from 12 feet.

Lowry goes out in 36 — three birdies, three bogeys and three pars on that front nine — and he moves to the par-four 10th on 16-under par. 

A NIGHTMARE FINISH: Justin Thomas had been motoring brilliantly on the final afternoon, picking up four shots on the front nine to go out in 33, and move up the leaderboard.

But it has all unravelled for the American down the home straight as he followed bogeys on 12 and 14 with a SEVEN on the par-four 17th. He lost his ball, missed a short double-bogey putt and eventually walked off the penultimate hole of his week with a damaging triple-bogey. He drops out of the top 10 on three-under.

Tony Finau has been going about his business quietly and rebounds from his first dropped shot of the day on the 11th with a birdie on the next. The big American is back to eight-under and one behind Lee Westwood in third place.

PHEW! Lowry clenches his fist and puffs his cheeks as he gets up and down to hole out for par on the 10th. He found the first cut with driver and was then slightly unlucky to see his second — a low draw — run up the back. The chip wasn’t his best, the ball dying slightly, but Lowry holds his nerve with a clutch putt to the relief of everyone around the 10th green. 

Fleetwood next up for his par…

AND HE MISSES! Oh Tommy, you can’t miss those. Fleetwood has had a bit of a shocker with the putter today and he gifts Lowry back his six-shot lead. 

UPDATE: Shane Lowry has withstood howling gales and torrential rain to stretch his lead at The Open to six shots through 10 holes, as the Irishman chases a first Major victory. 

Roared on by huge crowds despite the inclement weather at Royal Portrush, Lowry had a nervy start but crucially holed a tricky putt to avoid dropping two shots at the opening hole.

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Lowry is hunting down the Claret Jug. Source: David Davies

The 32-year-old then streaked further clear with three birdies in four holes between four and eight to move to 18-under.

But two bogeys at eight and nine slowed Lowry’s charge towards the Claret Jug and gave his closest challenger Tommy Fleetwood an outside chance as the rain continued to hammer down on the Dunluce Links. 

Fleetwood is two-over for his round after missing a number of key putts to put the pressure on his playing partner.

However, it looks set to be a shootout between those two for a first-ever Major with the terrible conditions hampering the chasing pack’s chance to post a challenging score.

Lee Westwood is on course for his 10th top-three finish in a Major without ever winning one as the Englishman stands at eight-under after 12.

World number one Brooks Koepka was hoping for the wind to blow Lowry off course, but it was the four-time Major champion whose chances were washed away early on.

Four consecutive bogeys on one, two, three and four realistically ended his challenge for a first Open title. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 16.25.45 Source: The Open

JB Holmes is, eh, having one out there. Starting the day on 10-under, the American’s pursuit of a first Major has gone horribly awry from the moment he went out-of-bounds with his first tee-shot.

From an opening double-bogey, Holmes has dropped shots at four, six, eight, nine and, more recently, had a triple-bogey seven on 11. He’s now eight-over for the day. 

BOGEY! Lowry pulls his par putt on the par-three 11th for his fourth bogey of the day and his lead is cut again to five shots. Both he and Fleetwood found the putting surface safely from the tee but as the Englishman comfortably two-putted for par, Lowry misjudged his birdie effort from range. 

WORK TO DO: On the 12th, Fleetwood finds the fairway and then Lowry pushes his drive right into the rough. The leader is able to hack it out and will have a little over 100 yards to the pin with his third — but he comes up way short and he’ll have a tricky two-putt here for par.

Fleetwood, meanwhile, nails his approach and is on in two, putting for eagle. A big couple of minutes ahead…

BACK TO FOUR: Lowry does his job and judges his long-range putt perfectly for a tap-in par, but Fleetwood does the same with his eagle attempt and comfortably rolls home the birdie. Lowry is 15-under, Fleetwood 11-under. Six holes to go.

TWO-HORSE RACE: It’s safe to say it’s now a straight shootout between Lowry and Fleetwood for the Claret Jug, with Tony Finau the next best on seven-under. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 16.53.51 Source: The Open

DELIGHTFUL FROM LOWRY! After finding the greenside bunker on 13, Lowry shows his touch of class from the sand to chip it to within four feet, before he duly knocks in the par putt. Just. 

Fleetwood had overshot the green off the tee but did well to get up-and-down. Lowry’s lead remains at five as they head to 14. Five to go. 

BACK TO FIVE! Lowry bogeys 14, but Fleetwood takes a double-bogey six.

Lowry missed the fairway left but got lucky with the lie, only for his second to come out a bit too hot and he was faced with a tricky up-and-down, which he was unable to covert. 

Fleetwood, however, found the bunker off the tee and was then in thick stuff beside the green, leaving himself with a mountain to climb to save bogey and he was unable to do so. The Englishman drops back to nine-under, with Lowry sitting pretty on 14-under.

Shane Lowry leads The Open by five shots with four holes to play at Royal Portrush.

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Source: David Davies

It’s all about the final group now, but Tony Finau has put together an excellent final round to sit in a tie for third alongside Brooks Koepka, who has just rolled home a birdie at 15. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-21 at 17.29.49 Source: The Open

Meanwhile at Esker Hills, Lowry’s home club in Offaly…

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The Open Championship 2019 - Day Four - Royal Portrush Golf Club Source: PA Wire/PA Images

BIRDIE! What a time to find your Sunday best! Lowry splits the fairway off the tee and then follows it up with an equally brilliant second, firing a wedge into eight feet, before finishing the job with the putter for a birdie three. He’s six shots clear!

STEADY AS SHE GOES: Lowry just needs to maintain his composure down the home straight and the Claret Jug is his — and he does just that on the 16th tee. 

Into a fierce gale, Lowry sends a low stinger towards the target 210 yards away and he lands it safely on the front edge, while Fleetwood finishes on the left corner. 

TWO TO GO! Lowry moves closer to a maiden Major title as he safely two putts from the front of the green for par after Fleetwood had knocked in his three. Lowry leads by six heading to the 17th. 

BOOM! Lowry is leaving little to chance now as he sends a beauty straight down the middle at 17, and then with the wind in his face and the green way below his stance, safely finds the putting surface. Nearly there now, nearly there. 

ONE HOLE TO GO! Lowry makes no mistake on the 17th green and he makes his way onto the final tee holding a six-shot lead at The Open. What an atmosphere, what a moment!

Here we go. Lowry steps up on the 18th tee and as he finds the fairway, the Offaly man puffs his cheeks and even allows himself a smile. He’s getting an almighty welcome down the final hole. Drink it in, Shane, drink it in. 

Fleetwood is first up and finds the green and then Lowry follows suit, which marks the start of the celebrations. This is spine-tingling stuff as the 18th green rises in unison for the champion elect. A major moment Shane Lowry will never forget. 

Lowry soaks it all in. Truly remarkable scenes at the 18th. Fleetwood finishes out, leaving the stage clear for the home favourite to close this one out.

SHANE LOWRY WINS THE OPEN!

A two-putt finish and Shane Lowry wins the 148th Open at Royal Portrush.

It’s presentation time on the 18th at Royal Portrush. Shane Lowry emerges back onto the green to lift the Claret Jug after hugely emotional scenes with his family — his father Brendan, his wife Wendy and young daughter Iris among those greenside.

That’s all from us this afternoon and what a memorable couple of hours it has been for Irish golf, Irish sport and Shane Lowry. There will be plenty more reaction from Royal Portrush on The42 throughout the evening, but until next time, thanks for following with us. Goodbye!

Shane Lowry celebrates winning with Brian Martin Lowry celebrates with his caddie Bo Martin. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

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