Lowry extends U.S. Open lead to four shots
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
OAKMONT, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Irishman Shane Lowry tightened his grip on the U.S. Open by seizing a four-shot lead when the weather-delayed third round was finally completed on a sun-splashed Sunday morning at Oakmont Country Club.
Two ahead overnight in the second major championship of the year, Lowry birdied two of his last four holes to get to seven-under 203 with a first grand slam title looming in his sights.
The 29-year-old from Clara in County Offaly did well to salvage a par at the last, coolly sinking a 10-footer to card a five-under 65 on one of the toughest golf courses in the world before pumping his fist in delight.
"It was a really good morning's work for me and I am really looking forward to getting out there in the afternoon and seeing what I can do," said Lowry, who won the biggest title of his career at the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
"It's one of the best rounds of my career, a 65 on this course. I just need to stay in the moment, stay patient."
Dustin Johnson, the tournament leader after 36 holes, carded a 71 to share second place with fellow American and PGA Tour rookie Andrew Landry, the surprise first-round pacesetter who drained a 45-foot birdie putt at the last for an even 70.
England's former world number one Lee Westwood (69), like every other player in the top eight seeking a first major title, and American Daniel Summerhays (69) were a further stroke back at two-under.
The only other player under par after 54 holes was South African Branden Grace, who had surged into contention with a six-birdie 66 to set the clubhouse lead overnight at one-under 209.
Lowry made an ideal start on a sunny morning at Oakmont, hitting his approach at the par-four 15th to 10 feet and sinking the birdie putt to extend his lead to four shots at six under.
That advantage was soon cut to three when the long-hitting Johnson, playing one group behind, followed suit by rolling in a 30-footer at the 15th to get to three under.
Lowry pocketed his second birdie of the day at the driveable par-four 17th, his tee shot settling just above a bunker 50 yards short of the hole from where he played a delicate chip to seven feet and sank the putt.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)