Tuesday, May 28, 2024

McIlroy and Lowry rally late to keep Zurich Classic victory in their sights – News – Irish Golf Desk

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Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy sparked into life over their final ten holes to remain in contention for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

The Ryder Cup duo played their first six holes in just two under to slither from a share of the halfway lead to near the foot of the leaderboard in the third round fourballs.

But buoyed by McIlroy’s brilliant birdie two at the ninth, they roared home in five-under 31 to card an eight-under 64 that left him just two shots behind Zac Blair and Patrick Fishburn at TPC Louisiana.

“I think that six-iron he hit into nine and he rolled the putt got us going, and from there on in, it was Rory McIlroy at his best, and it was a joy to watch,” Lowry enthused.

As lifelong friends Blair and Fishburn shot a brilliant 60 to lead by a shot on 23-under from Luke List and Henrik Norlander (62), McIlroy and Lowry made five birdies on the back nine to share third with Ryan Brehm and Mark Hubbard (64) on 21-under.

“We absolutely finished strong,” said McIlroy, who officially made all their birdies on the back nine, rolling in a 25-footer at the 16th, where Lowry drove into the water before almost holing a bunker shot for eagle at the par-five 18th.

“It was a tricky day. The wind was blowing. We had some chances early on that we didn’t take advantage of.

“We birdied the two par-fives on the front nine, and then we definitely got it going around the turn. 

“I hit a lovely shot into nine and was able to convert that, and I think that gave us some really good momentum going into the back nine.”

The world number two is making his debut in an event that has attracted record galleries and he’s excited about having a chance to win heading into the final day foursomes.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “I think to make those birdies coming in and to only be two behind, alternate shot is a tough format, and yeah, you want to be within a couple strokes of the lead. 

“I thought it was important to finish the way we did, and excited to have a chance to win tomorrow.”

There will be no green shirts on the final day when they tee off in the penultimate group.

“I actually don’t own a green shirt, so no, we don’t have any green with us this week,” said Lowry, who was vital for them early in the round. “I don’t know what we have, but we certainly don’t have a green shirt. It’s my fault.”

The Irish duo may have an edge if the wind blows and they are asked to produce the kind of grinding golf they played for Ireland as amateurs.

“Birdies were a little harder to come by today than they were on Thursday in the better ball format,” McIlroy said. I

“I think today was about staying patient, knowing that the course was going to present some opportunities, especially on that back nine.

“I think our patience was rewarded with the chances that we gave ourselves, and rolled a couple of putts in on the back and kept ourselves in it.”

Their close friendship is clearly a strength for foursomes.

“I think we know what makes the other one tick in some ways,” McIlroy said. “We’ve known each other for 25 years. So yeah, I think so. I think it’s a friend, and he tries to keep me positive at times. I have to try to keep him positive at times, and I’d say it’s worked really well for the first three days.”

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