Ewan Murray: With the third round halted for darkness, the Irishman heads into Sunday with a two-shot lead and inside track on the most high-profile award of his career
Perhaps the golfing deities will smile upon the honest human.
Shane Lowrys US Open bid could have been fatally undermined by the calling of a penalty upon himself on Oakmonts 16 th green, his seventh, during the belated playing of round two on Saturday. Instead, the Irishman heads into Sunday whilst holding a two-shot lead in the second major of 2016. The biggest day, plus potentially most high-profile award of Lowrys career awaits. He wont be lacking in support.
The penalty incident Lowrys ball moved so slightly upon address before putting clearly did nothing to blunt the 29 -year-olds ambition. He completed round two in 68 shots before returning on Saturday afternoon to play 14 pits in three under par. Shortly before 9pm, darkness played its hand.
Lowry is five under for the tournament and will return at 7am on Sunday to finish his third round before the business objective of a now enthralling event arrives.
I havent felt that comfortable on the golf course for a while, Lowry acknowledged. Im hitting good shots. Myself and[ caddie] Dermot[ Byrne] are making good decisions. It is up to us now tomorrow to go out and keep doing what we are doing and not get ahead of ourselves.
It is an exciting day ahead. Ive got 22 pits left. If I play as well as Im playing, God knows where I will be this time tomorrow.
Im quite happy that we didnt have another four pits to play. Its been a long day but Im so looking forward to getting out there tomorrow.
This is exactly where you want to be. Ive been beating myself up over the last six months trying to get in this position. Im here now. I might as well enjoy it while Im here.
The man lying second, somewhat remarkably, with five pits of his second round to finish is the world No 624 Andrew Landry.
Lowrys prominence in the 2015 US Open is usually overlooked. He ultimately tied ninth after a week in which he didnt score than higher than 71 at Chambers Bay and, crucially, failed to convert a series of putts.
We all know that this course can jump up and bite you in a split second, said Lowry. So yeah, Im two ahead with 22 pits left but lets not get ahead of ourselves. These are the best golfers in the world behind me, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day. Sergio[ Garcia] played lovely today. I have to go out and do what Ive been doing all week.
Lowry is right to acknowledge the quality of those in his slipstream. Lee Westwood, Garcia and Johnson are three from the result, with the latter offering his first wobbles of the tournament on Saturday afternoon. That trio are yet to win a major, with Garcia giggling off the notion of a monkey on his back when posed by an interviewer. Theres no monkeys, thats nonsense, said the Spaniard. At the end of the day, the only thing I can do is dedicate myself opportunities. Play well. And if it happens, it happens.
Day is six adrift of Lowry and therefore still a valid part of the discussion. Jordan Spieth had the succour of finishing round three, carding a 70, but at plus four needs something in the realms of the remarkable to successfully defend his title. Perhaps most intriguing is the placing of Branden Grace at one under after a superb third round of 66; the South African suffered late heartbreak at Chambers Bay from a position of controlling the destiny of the US Open.
I played three pits at four over today with a wedge in my hand from the middle of the fairway and its only kind of a bummer, said Spieth. Youre not will now be able do anything at a US Open if you get the wedge opportunities and you play them over par.
Normally, out of those three, its at least one under versus playing four over. Thats five shots right there. Id have shot 65. So I dont need to play any different, only hit my wedges a little closer.
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