One word was prevalent ever since Shane Lowry surged into contention at The Open this weekend. Oakmont.

"Oakmont was so long ago and I was a lot younger," Lowry said after moving into a co-share of the lead on Friday.

"I feel like if I get the opportunity this week I'll be better. It definitely won't affect me, what happened in Oakmont."

Amid the chanting, raucous cheers and sheer euphoria that greeted Lowry walking off the 18th green at the conclusion of the greatest round of his life at Royal Portrush on Saturday, there was an unsettling sense of deja vu due to his four-stroke advantage.

Three years ago, Lowry held the same lead going into the final 18 holes of the U.S. Open. He had one hand on the trophy, a major breakthrough in his grasp.

Yet in golf things are never that simple and that fateful Sunday just outside of Pittsburgh was dragged back to the fore for Lowry this week.

The pressure of holding a significant lead in a major for the first time was evident. Lowry never recovered from a difficult start at Oakmont and struggled to a six-over 76, eventually finishing three shots adrift of Dustin Johnson – who himself had to endure a nervy penalty-shot controversy to win what is to date his only victory in one of golf's big four.

However, at Portrush, Lowry only fleetingly betrayed his insistence that no mental scars remained from the most painful of experiences. A wayward drive down the first and an approach into the greenside bunker leading to an opening bogey would surely have had his heart rate skyrocketing.

Lowry is a different man to three years ago, though. He has a young daughter, Iris. His priorities and perspective have changed.

"If I'm sitting here this time tomorrow evening it will be one of the biggest things that ever happened to me, there's no denying that," Lowry commented in a news conference on Saturday.

"But I just felt at the time in Oakmont my golf meant a lot more to me back then than it does now. I'm not saying that it doesn't mean everything, it's my career. But I've got certain things in my life that make it different. I've got family now. No matter what, my family will be waiting for me."

It has been a long journey back to this point. After missing the cut at last year's Open, for the fourth time in succession, Lowry slumped to a ranking of 92nd. 

Following the first round at Carnoustie 12 months ago, there was a pretty blunt declaration from Lowry.

"I'm not enjoying my golf at the minute, and my golf is not really enjoying me and that's the way it is, and it's hard to take," he said.

There was a recognition change was needed. Lowry split with long-time caddie Dermot Byrne in September and there has been a huge upturn in fortunes with new man on the bag Brian 'Bo' Martin, who grew up around two hours away from Portrush in Ardglass.

Victory at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January, after which an emotional Lowry spoke about a "tough couple of years on the golf course", preceded top-10s at the RBC Heritage, US PGA Championship and Canadian Open.

"With Bo I find I play golf now like there's no consequences, you know what I mean? You need to hit shots like there's no consequence," explained Lowry.

"What's the worst thing that can happen? If I swing the club here and hit the ball, no matter where it goes, what is the worst thing that can happen to you? That's kind of the mindset he brings into it. That's when I play my best. That's the way I am. I think we gel together nicely that way.

"I think as a golfer you have such a long career, well, hopefully you have such a long career, I've been [a professional for] 10 years now and it's just a rollercoaster.

"I think the reason I'm so good mentally now is I feel like I know how to take the downs."

There was no bigger down in Lowry's career than Oakmont three years ago. Now, standing a Champion Golfer after an astounding six-shot victory, there is no greater high.

That it should happen at Portrush, an Irishman winning on Irish soil, makes it only more special.

It was for so long unthinkable the tournament could be held here as the days of the Northern Ireland conflict, a period of history known as The Troubles, devastatingly split the country.

But this is a different time and there was a wonderful buzz around Portrush as home hero Rory McIlroy prepared to begin the week as one of the favourites for glory.

McIlroy, of course, did not even make the weekend and it was instead left to Lowry, from County Offaly in the Republic of Ireland, to slip under the radar and earn the acclaim of an adoring crowd.

He will, at some point after what will no doubt be a hefty celebration, go to bed with the Claret Jug, fresh in the knowledge the demons of Oakmont have been truly banished.

A stunned Shane Lowry said he felt like he was going through an "out-of-body experience" after cantering to Open Championship glory at Royal Portrush.

Ten years on from sensationally winning the Irish Open as an amateur, Lowry again exceeded all expectations by claiming his maiden major title with a phenomenal performance.

After pulling four clear at the top of the leaderboard with a stunning 63 on Saturday, the Irishman held his nerve to card a one-over 72 in challenging weather conditions.

Lowry's lead barely came under threat on the final day as he retained a comfortable cushion over playing partner Tommy Fleetwood.

"Honestly, I feel like I'm in like an out-of-body experience," Lowry told Sky Sports as he reflected on his efforts.

"I was so calm coming down the last hole, I couldn't believe it. What a day."

Asked how he had remained so calm under enormous pressure, Lowry replied: "I'll be really honest with you, I didn't!"

He then credited caddie Brian 'Bo' Martin with playing a key role in his victory, adding: "I talked to Bo a lot today. I told him, 'honestly, I can't stop thinking about winning, I can't stop thinking about holding the Claret Jug'. And, you know, this is after six or seven holes and he was [saying], 'just stay with me, stay with me' all day.

"He stayed on my back and he kept talking in my ear. He was great and what a job he did today.

"It was difficult out there, the weather was so hard. I wasn't going great around the middle of the round but then I had a look at the leaderboard and saw everyone else was struggling. And then it kind of turned into a two-horse race between me and Tommy, which was was good for me, I think.

"I just tried to focus on staying as far ahead of Tommy as I could."

After being presented with the Claret Jug, Lowry said: "To have an Open Championship here on the island of Ireland at Royal Portrush Golf Club is just amazing. To the volunteers and the fans - thank you so much, this one's for you."

The champion also showed emotion as he thanked his parents and added: "They sacrificed so much for me when I was younger and I’m so happy that I can hand them this trophy tonight."

Shane Lowry held his nerve magnificently under pressure to claim his first major title at The Open.

The Irishman secured a hugely popular success at Royal Portrush, finishing six shots clear of Tommy Fleetwood after following up his sensational third-round 63 with a one-over 72 that was arguably even more impressive given the challenging weather conditions and the magnitude of Sunday's final 18 holes.

Lowry had begun the fourth round leading by four at 16 under, with Fleetwood his nearest challenger.

We look at how the last day unfolded.

 

1:47pm BST - The final pairing of Lowry and Fleetwood tee off in rising winds, with Rickie Fowler and JB Holmes having already gone out of bounds on the first. Lowry and Fleetwood both avoid that horrible fate, although the Irishman's tee shot is a nervous one into the rough on the left.

2pm - Having struggled badly on the opening hole, finding the bunker with his second and then coming up short with both his third and fourth shots, Lowry shows resilience to drain a six-footer for his bogey. That means his lead is only cut by one stroke, with Fleetwood having missed a presentable birdie opportunity.

2:26pm - Lowry's lead becomes four strokes once more as Fleetwood's cold start with the putter continues, the Englishman missing a short par-saver on the third. Meanwhile, Lee Westwood picks up a shot at the fifth - having earlier pitched in for birdie at the third - to trail by five.

2:39pm - The leader stretches his advantage over Fleetwood to five, birdieing the fourth after a fine approach shot. In the penultimate group, Brooks Koepka makes a spectacular eagle on the fifth. However, that comes after he had bogeyed each of the first four holes. At seven under for the tournament, he is nine behind Lowry.

2:51pm - As conditions worsen at Portrush, Fleetwood can only birdie the fifth despite leaving himself a fairly short eagle putt. Lowry matches his partner's three to reach 17 under and remain five clear.

3:22pm - Fleetwood gets up and down from a greenside bunker at the seventh to save par, but Lowry makes a tap-in birdie, his third gain in four holes. At 18 under, he leads by six and is in command of the tournament.

3:57pm - After he and Fleetwood had each bogeyed the eighth amid a burst of torrential rain, Lowry gives up another shot at the ninth to turn in a level-par 36. A fine up-and-down sees Fleetwood end the outward nine with a par and sit five off the pace, with Westwood two further back after a bogey at 11. Everyone else appears to be out of the running.

4:31pm - Lowry's wobble continues as he follows up a gutsy par save at the start of his back nine with a third bogey in four holes at 11. However, he remains five clear of Fleetwood, whose putter let him down from close range at the 10th. Westwood's race is run as he slides back into the group at seven under, eight off the pace.

4:51pm - Fleetwood reduces his deficit to four shots for the first time since the third hole, courtesy of a two-putt birdie at the par-five 12th.

5:20pm - Despite making his fifth bogey of the day at the 14th, Lowry finds himself five clear once more as Fleetwood drops two shots. After finding a bunker off the tee and heavy rough with his second, the Englishman looks to have left himself with too much to do.

5:32pm - Lowry makes a brilliant birdie at the 15th to move further clear, extending his lead to six with just three holes to play. The crowd favourite celebrates with a determined fist pump.

6:09pm - The crowd at Royal Portrush goes wild as a beaming Lowry finishes with his third par in a row to complete a round of 71 and triumph by six strokes.

There was one name on everybody's lips at the start of the week at Royal Portrush - Rory McIlroy.

Cast into a leading role he seemed eager to shun, McIlroy winning The Open Championship on home soil was the story everybody wanted to write, to read, and to talk about for generations to come.

Too bad, then, that he shot a quadruple-bogey eight on the very first hole to slide from pre-tournament favourite to a likely bet to miss the cut.

The incomplete miracle of his stunning second-round revival aside, McIlroy's race was effectively run inside 15 minutes of madness on Thursday.

It left a void at the Dunluce Links that was initially filled by compatriot Darren Clarke, the 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year getting home in even par on an opening day when he had the honour of teeing off first.

But then he too fell before the weekend, a gut-wrenching triple bogey on the last ending his fun.

At least Graeme McDowell made it to the business end of things, giving the sell-out crowd a home hope to lend their significant backing to.

It was no more than a consolation, for sure, but it was still a long way short of filling the McIlroy-shaped hole that had been left by the four-time major winner's shock exit, because McDowell was not threatening to win it.

And, worse still, after two rounds there was an American sharing the leaderboard summit as J.B. Holmes primed himself to complete the first US clean sweep of the majors since 1982.

Something had to be done to keep the Claret Jug a little closer to home. Step forward Shane Lowry, the man with whom Holmes was unwillingly sharing that lead.

A couple of rounds of 67 had the Irishman in the hunt for a maiden major. Here was Royal Portrush's new leading man. 

On Saturday, he lived up to that billing - and indeed went some way beyond it - with a round of golf that he may never surpass.

It read on the scorecard as a blemish-free 63 - impressive enough even by the raw data - but the way in which he came to sign for that number was breathtaking.

He hit 17 of the 18 greens in regulation and when the chasing pack were threatening he accelerated once more, nailing birdies at 15, 16 and 17 despite having made no gains on those holes over the first two rounds.

That run, including a mighty close call with another birdie at the last, worked the Portrush crowd into a frenzy. Where 24 hours prior there had been sympathetic applause for McIlroy's closing par, which sealed his fate, Lowry's tap-in four was met by a deafening roar.

It left him four shots clear heading into Sunday and ‘Lowry!’ chants rang out around the course, which was again packed to capacity when he returned for the final round.

Although he had let a four-stroke margin vanish in a major before, Lowry refused to wilt in abysmal conditions, just as the fans refused to let their spirits be dampened by the wind and rain that so often feel obliged to make their presence known at an Open.

After a 68-year absence from these shores, the return of golf's oldest major to Northern Ireland was never going to be a quiet affair, but Lowry made damn sure of that fact.

He gave the crowd - be they from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, or frankly anywhere on the planet - something to root for; he gave us that story to write, to read, and to talk about for generations to come.

Now there is a different name on everyone's lips at Royal Portrush – and that name is Shane Lowry.

Shane Lowry defeated the elements and his rivals in stunning fashion to become a major winner for the first time, recording a commanding six-shot victory for an emotional Open Championship triumph at Royal Portrush.

A day after he emerged from a bunched pack in a spectacular finish to round three, Lowry held his nerve to triumph by a distance on 15 under par, shooting a one-over 71 amid constantly changing conditions that included severe rain on the Dunluce Links.

Tommy Fleetwood, who started four back on Sunday, could not get going with the putter despite some handy looks for birdie early in his round and the Englishman struggled to a 74 that left him six behind the champion.

Lowry had reached a low point 12 months ago at the same tournament at Carnoustie, where he missed the cut - for the fourth Open in succession - and slipped to 92nd in the world rankings.

Yet this victory, the first in a major with a margin of five or more strokes since Rory McIlroy's U.S. Open triumph at Congressional in 2011, was just reward for four days of sublime golf played with the backing of a vociferous crowd desperate for an Irish winner on Irish soil.

It marks a crowning moment in Lowry's career three years on from him letting a four-shot lead slip in the final round of the U.S. Open at Oakmont.

His success owed much to a fantastic eight-under 63 on Saturday when the glorious conditions were in stark contrast to the heavy downpours and high winds that greeted the leaders the following day.

The landscape of the leaderboard could have been markedly different after the first hole the final pairing played in the fourth round, when Lowry followed a nervy tee shot that landed in the left rough with an approach into the greenside bunker, while Fleetwood put his approach to within 10 feet.

Lowry limited the damage, though, recovering to make bogey as his nearest rival missed a presentable birdie chance.

An increasingly assured Lowry duly extended his lead with a run of three birdies in four holes to reach 18 under through seven and, even when the weather worsened to make scoring difficult, his lead never really came under threat thereafter.

Three dropped shots between the eighth and 11th did little damage, with Fleetwood also dropping shots in the damp conditions.

A birdie at 12 brought Fleetwood within four, but a double-bogey six at 14 killed any hope of a comeback and another birdie for Lowry at 15 brought huge cheers.

The chasing pack below Lowry and Fleetwood only fleetingly threatened any sort of charge, with Lee Westwood the only man bar the leaders to reach 10 under at any stage on Sunday.

Westwood ultimately finished in a tie for fourth with world number one Brooks Koepka at six under, with Tony Finau one shot better off in third after a level-par 71.

Last year's Open champion, Francesco Molinari, carded a 66 before the poor weather arrived to share 11th at three under.

Francesco Molinari accepted he let high expectations affect his golf as he failed to mount a serious challenge in his Open Championship title defence.

After a sublime first major triumph at Carnoustie 12 months ago, Molinari went on to play a starring role for Europe in their Ryder Cup triumph.

He added the Arnold Palmer Invitational title in March of this year, while also finishing fifth at the Masters.

The popular Italian arrived at Royal Portrush with hopes of another strong performance but made the cut with nothing to spare and only in Sunday's final round did he show his true prowess.

A closing 66 moved Molinari to three under for the tournament, but while the struggles of others in tough conditions pushed him up the leaderboard later in the day he was never in contention.

"In general it was obviously not what I was hoping for. But at the same time I think it's understandable, it's never easy to defend the championship, and especially so in a major," he said.

"It's been an interesting week. Obviously it gave me a sense of closure coming back here and defending and getting the week done. And I'm happy the way I played today. Hopefully next time I'll be mentally more ready to defend another major.

"My preparation was really good. In a way that harmed me because the expectation went up. I didn't do a good enough job of just really enjoying the week, staying calm, enjoying the emotions that I felt through every day.

"It's been hard but I was expecting a hard week. I wasn't expecting to win again. I was expecting to maybe play better. And I think myself and all my team, we're seeing how good I was playing and we were expecting a lot."

Molinari, 36, said he had "massively" enjoyed his year as Open champion.

"I think obviously it's going to sound obvious, it's better to win one year and play badly the other year, rather than finishing fifth both years," he added. "So I'll take that and I'll take the experience from this week and try to learn from it."

As for whether the course has lived up to expectations, with Northern Ireland staging the tournament for the first time since 1951, Molinari was in no doubt about Royal Portrush justifying its place on the Open rota.

"The greatest compliment I think is all the feedback that I've heard from the players has been positive and especially on a links course that's not something you hear every year," he said.

"That's been great. The crowds obviously have been amazing. Hopefully we will be back in the near future."

Shane Lowry was edging ever closer to winning The Open despite making back-to-back bogeys to complete his first nine holes in round four at Royal Portrush.

The Irishman, ahead by four overnight after a stunning 63 on Saturday, played an ugly first hole to start with a bogey but soon looked in control as he birdied the fourth, fifth and seventh to reach 18 under.

The heavy rains forecast for Sunday arrived and made their presence felt as Lowry made bogeys at eight and nine to turn in a level-par 36.

However, at 16 under, he was still five clear of nearest challenger and playing partner Tommy Fleetwood, who was one over for his round after failing to convert a few looks at birdie early on.

Lee Westwood was third at nine under, seven off the pace, with every other player seemingly out of contention.

Brooks Koepka made a superb eagle at the fifth, but only after bogeying his opening four holes. The world number one was in a group at seven under with Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler and Danny Willett.

Brooks Koepka's chances of winning The Open were all but dashed after he made a torrid start to round four.

The world number one began Sunday, which was expected to bring heavy rain and strong wind, seven shots back of Shane Lowry and he needed a fast start to close the gap.

Yet Koepka, who finished second, first and second in the first three majors of the year, opened with four straight bogeys in a shoddy beginning to his round.

It meant Koepka was five under for the tournament having played four holes, 10 shots behind leader Lowry, and in need of a dramatic turnaround in fortunes.

Such a prospect appeared as bleak as the skies at Portrush, with the worst of the forecast weather having not yet arrived.

Shane Lowry saw his Open Championship lead cut to three as Tommy Fleetwood closed the gap on a day when high winds and heavy rain are forecast at Royal Portrush.

The Irishman began Sunday's round - brought forward amid fears over the weather - with a four-stroke lead over Fleetwood following his stunning 63 on Saturday, but he dropped a shot at the first to sit on 15 under.

It is the second time Lowry has taken such a margin into the final 18 holes of a major, having done so at the 2016 U.S. Open before closing with a 76 to miss out on the title.

Backed by a noisy crowd, Lowry found the rough with his opening tee shot and then his approach rolled back into a green-front bunker, from which he failed to get up and down.

Fleetwood, who is also seeking a maiden major, could have halved the overnight deficit but missed a 10-foot birdie putt and settled for par to stay 12 under.

The next winner of the Claret Jug appeared highly likely to come from that final duo, but J.B. Holmes, Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose would have started the day with other ideas.

Victory for Holmes or Koepka would complete the first American clean sweep of the majors since 1982, handing the former his first and the latter his fifth.

However, Holmes went out of bounds off the first tee en route to a double-bogey six and Koepka also dropped a shot.

Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open winner, remained on nine under through his first two holes.

Shane Lowry was due to do battle with the elements as well as the chasing pack in his bid to the win The Open at Royal Portrush on Sunday.

The Irishman produced a breath-taking eight-under 63 on a glorious day of clear skies and sunshine on Saturday to move to 16 under for the tournament, four clear of nearest rival Tommy Fleetwood.

Lowry and Fleetwood were scheduled to begin their final rounds at 1.47pm local time, with tee times brought forward due to the threat of the inclement weather.

As well as the heavy rains forecast on the Dunluce Links, the ominous presence of four-time major winner Brooks Koepka was looming large, albeit the American was seven shots back of the lead.

Koepka was due to play alongside compatriot J.B. Holmes (-10), while Justin Rose (-9) and Rickie Fowler (-8) were set to be in the third from last group.

Among the early starters, several players were showing birdie opportunities are out there - albeit the worst of the predicted weather was yet to hit Portrush.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot a four under, and defending champion Francesco Molinari and Doc Redman were on the same score through 13 and 10 holes respectively.

Brooks Koepka hopes the weather can turn the tide in his favour at The Open after claiming he has "putted the worst in the entire field" at Royal Portrush.

The four-time major winner started the day just three shots back of overnight co-leaders Shane Lowry and J.B. Holmes and there were opportunities to score low on a calm day on the Dunluce Links.

Koepka did manage to shoot a 67, but squandered several opportunities to go even lower and will start Sunday seven shots back of Lowry after the Irishman dazzled with a 63.

While the world number one is happy with how he has struck the ball tee-to-green, his performance on the dancefloor has left him frustrated.

"Nobody has hit it better than me this week. I've hit it as good as I could possibly imagine. I putted the worst in the entire field," he said. "It's very frustrating, I'm disappointed.

"I need to figure out the putter. I just need to putt good one day. So I'm about to go do a whole bunch of work on that putting green and see if I can somehow find confidence, somehow find anything."

The forecasted adverse weather on Sunday has seen tee times brought forward and Koepka is not ready to give up his challenge just yet.

"I need it [the bad weather]. Being seven back. Here you need some wind, you need some rain. You need anything that can kind of go your way. And that's got to be an advantage," he added.

"Especially the way I'm striking the ball. I've struck it so good. If it's going to be windy, you need to be able to strike it good, control your flight, and figure out where you want the ball to end up."

Justin Rose, who played alongside Koepka, is also seven shots back of Lowry.

The 2013 U.S. Open winner is expecting the Irishman to cope well in the forecasted tough conditions, but like Koepka is hoping the weather can do him a favour.

"It [the weather] offers you a little bit more hope than if it was a benign day. Who knows what it might take, it might take 63," he said.

"I'm just projecting Shane is going to have a decent finish here, he's got a great short game, that will stand him in good stead on a tough weather day, he's Irish. If there is a tough-weather-day player, it probably is him. 

"It doesn't make it easy trying to win a major in conditions like that."

Tommy Fleetwood does not expect Shane Lowry or any of the contenders in the final round of The Open to be affected by the wet weather expected to hit Portrush on Sunday.

Fleetwood heads into the last 18 holes in second place as he searches for his first major title. Despite shooting a five-under 66 on Saturday to move to 12 under, he finds himself four strokes behind Ireland's Shane Lowry, who carded an incredible 63.

The Englishman is two clear of J.B. Holmes, with Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose seven off the pace in tied fourth.

Tee times have been brought forward for Sunday because of the anticipated bad weather, but Fleetwood is not expecting any of his rivals to falter in the tricky conditions.

"It's the best golfers in the world. I feel like the guys that are up there on the leaderboard, from what I've seen, are not going to be too fussed about the conditions. It's not like it's an advantage or disadvantage to anyone," Fleetwood said.

"I personally don't mind the conditions, whatever they are. I feel like I've had some of my best rounds in terrible, terrible conditions, where I've enjoyed grinding it out. So we'll see.

"Shane has not played in sunshine and no wind all his life. So it's not going to be a problem for him, either."

Henrik Stenson holds the record for the best 72-hole score in relation to par at an Open Championship, shooting 20 under in 2016, but Fleetwood will not set out to beat that mark as he attempts to overhaul home favourite Lowry.

"Looking at the numbers is like a dangerous game and it's not something I'll be doing," Fleetwood added. "It will be one step at a time, like the usual stuff. And if the weather is really rough, you rule that out and get out of it what you can.

"It will be a very, very good effort if it's me [who wins], and if it's not me or Shane, it will be a very, very good effort for somebody else. For sure, we'll see how it goes.

"It's going to be another chapter in my career, no matter what happens. And it's going to be a very special day."

Holmes went into the weekend in a share of the lead with Lowry, who he expects to endure a difficult day trying to win his first major regardless of the size of his advantage.

"It's tough no matter whether you have a one-shot lead or five-shot lead. It's tough to finish off a major. It's a tough test. So we'll see," said Holmes. "See what he does tomorrow, and I can go out and hopefully put up the number and give him something to look at.

"You never know with the weather, it can be blowing. I don't know. There's a lot of golf left to go. But I put myself in a good position and go out there tomorrow and keep trucking."

Shane Lowry described Saturday's stunning round at an electric Royal Portrush as his "most incredible day" on a golf course as the Irishman took control of the Open Championship.

Lowry's blemish-free 63 means he almost has one hand on the Claret Jug, boasting a four-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood at the summit.

The crowd in Northern Ireland lent their significant backing to the 32-year-old as he pulled clear of a stacked field of contenders to emerge as the clear favourite for the title.

He closed his round with three birdies from the last four holes and Portrush erupted in joy as he left playing partner and overnight co-leader J.B. Holmes six strokes adrift.

"Honestly, that's the most incredible day I've ever had on the golf course. I honestly can't explain what it was like," said a beaming Lowry.

"I said to Bo [caddie Brian Martin] walking off the 17th tee, 'We might never have a day like this on the golf course again. So let's enjoy this next half hour'.

"And that's what I did. The crowd was incredible. I just can't believe what it was like.

"I can imagine it was quite difficult for J.B. to play with that. But I found it OK, anyway."

Lowry has never won a major but he does have experience of holding a four-shot lead going into the last round of one.

He did so at Oakmont in 2016 and shot a 76 on the final day as victory slipped from his grasp, but he claims to have learned from that.

"I said to Bo when I finished, look at the leaderboard, four ahead. I said to Bo, 'At least I won't have to answer any questions about Oakmont, I'm four ahead going into the final round of a major'," Lowry joked.

"Obviously I learned a lot that day. I learned a lot about myself at Oakmont. I'm going to learn a lot about myself tomorrow [Sunday].

"I think I learned a few things that day about playing in the final round of a major with a lead, that you need to just hang in until the very last minute.

"You never know what can happen."

There was little time to stop and take stock on a glorious day at Royal Portrush as The Open Championship cranked up a notch in round three.

Bright skies and low winds were the order of the day in Northern Ireland, a stark contrast to the heavy rain that is forecast to provide a huge challenge for the leaders on Sunday.

On a moving day when Shane Lowry took Portrush apart to establish a four-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood, our Omnisport team were out and about on the ground once again.

Here, we bring you stories you may have missed from Portrush.


COVERING THE OPEN IS A GIANT TASK

An Open Championship is an absolute privilege to cover for a journalist, but it's also hard work!

The days start early, finish late and are filled with any number of tasks from writing stories, interviewing, shooting video, talking on the radio and television...

If you're struggling to feel any sympathy for the lot of the many journalists at Royal Portrush this week, the revelation that one of Omnisport's reporters found time for a spot of sightseeing will certainly not change your mind.

Early on Saturday, said reporter headed for the Giant's Causeway to take in the stunning views around this world-famous tourist attraction that sits just a few miles from the golf course.

The tens of thousands of interlocking basalt columns form a spectacle so grand and beautiful that it has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

BLACK CAPS CWC LOSS STILL RANKLES WITH FOX FAN

When roving the course, you get the opportunity to talk to people from all walks of life.

One of the Omnisport team was involved in a three-way chat with an Indian man and New Zealand woman, who were there mainly supporting Shubhankar Sharma and Ryan Fox.

The conversation briefly turned to cricket, where the Black Caps supporter was adamant the Kiwis should not have lost the World Cup, which incredibly was less than a week ago.

"Our own countryman stole it!" she said, in reference to New Zealand-born Ben Stokes dramatically and accidentally deflecting the ball for four additional runs at a crucial juncture.

Sport hurts, kids...

PORTRUSH LOCAL SHOWS THE WAY

Often after the cut at a major championship, the field is left with an odd number of players, meaning one poor soul is scheduled to tee off alone.

But usually the said player - on this occasion Paul Waring - will play with a marker, and Royal Portrush head professional Gary McNeill had that honour on Saturday.

And he enjoyed a moment to savour at the 17th hole when he drained a monster putt in front of an appreciative local crowd.

SHANE LOVES LOVE ISLAND...

One of the more popular TV shows in the United Kingdom right now is Love Island, a show where young, single males and females spend time in a villa looking for love... and it's not to everyone's taste.

But for the Open Championship leader it's the ideal way to unwind after a round on the course.

"I'd be lying if I said Love Island wasn't on [in the house]," Lowry said, to laughter among the press pack. "I do the same things as any other person [to relax], I lay back and watch on TV. "

Each to their own, Shane...

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.