Shane Lowry was handed a bitter double dose of the Memphis golfing blues in posting a pair of double-bogeys spoiling all hopes of a decent finish at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Lowry’s third round one-over 71 will see him head to the final day of the $15m just outside the top-50 at three-under but in the bigger FedEx Cup picture and the Irishman will head to next week’s BMW Championship projected to slip nine places to 37th on the FedEx Cup standings.
To say it’s been a difficult two weeks back on the PGA Tour since teeing-up in the 150th Open Championship is an understatement . Lowry never got going at last week’s Wyndham Championship and since arriving it’s not been easy getting into the overtaking lane.
Lowry’s third round was off to a great start with birdies at the third and fifth holes but spoiling any gains was taking a double-bogey at the fourth and then a bogey at the fifth. He birdied the 13th and then at the par-3 14th Lowry brilliantly holed a 30-footer to get back to one-under for his round but then he gave back another two shots in finding water with his drive off the 15th.
Up front and American JJ Spaun birdied his closing two holes in a round of 68 and will take a one-shot lead, at 13-under, into the final round of this week’s opening event of the three-tournament FedEx Play-Off Series
Austria’s Sepp Straka posted a 68 to be one shot back in second place with three players – Will Zalatoris (65), Trey Mullinax (66) and Open Champion Cameron Smith (67) – tied in third at 11-under,
While nothing ever certain in sport, Smith’s move up the leader-board is very timely. The St. Andrews winning hero birdied two of his closing four holes in an impressive display that has the Aussie projected to end the week as FedEx Cup No.1, and if the golfer with the ‘mullet’ haircut wins in Memphis he will go to World No. 1.
“That would mean a lot if I won tomorrow and went to No. 1”, he said.
“I mean, that’s what we’re all here to do. That’s been one of my goals probably since the start of the year is to try to get to that top spot and try and chase it down.”