Fleetwood not expecting storms to knock Open rival Lowry off course

By Nicholas McGee 21 July 2019 425
Fleetwood not expecting storms to knock Open rival Lowry off course

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."

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