Lee Westwood ramps up pressure on Shane Lowry with final round comments
The English golfer knows all about chasing a Major and feeling the heat.
On nine occasions, Lee Westwood has either finished second or third in a Major.
Facing the press on Saturday evening, after putting himself in position for another dart, the former world number one spoke about what tournament leader Shane Lowry will be going through during his final round.
Lowry leads The Open, at Royal Portrush, by the same amount (four shots) that he led the 2016 US Open before he imploded on the final day.
Lowry told reporters that claiming a Major did not mean as much to him now, three years on from Oakmont, that it did back then. That is not to mean that he does not strive to win a Major, just that family has taken greater prominence in his life and, in 2017, he became father to young Iris Lowry. He stated:
"I'm just going to go out there. I know it's going to rain and I know it is going to be difficult at times. I'm just going to have to shoot the best score I can."
The 32-year-old has shot 68, 68 and 63, and one would have to believe that another round in the 60s - even 69 - would be enough to claim The Claret Jug.
During his visit to the media tent, Westwood spoke about the pressure Lowry will be under during his final round:
"Shane's in the lead, he's in a big lead, but no lead is big enough when the weather gets bad on a links course. And he's going to have an awful lot of pressure on him hitting in front of a home crowd.
"So he'll be nervous, it'll be a tough long day for him: the last day of a major is always long, but it's going to be 100 times worse for him."
Westwood was -10 at one stage, after three birdies in his opening four holes, but he gave two shots back over the closing stretch to leave himself on -8. Still, he knows a similarly fast start will put him back in the mix.
"I'll just go out and try to play well," he continued. "You can still shoot a low score around this golf course.
"It's such a good design that even in a really strong wind if you hit good shots you can still make birdies. I'd like to be a bit closer but I'm still in there with a chance, I think."
Lowry, too, has bolted from the blocks. His opening five holes in rounds one, two and three were -2, -4 and -2.
If he can produce a solid start again, he may burn off many of the chasing pack, including Westwood.