Shane Lowry played 31 holes in a marathon Saturday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and a bogey at the last of these saw him drop out of the top-10 as the scoring again proved tough at TPC Scottsdale.
Completing just a single hole of his second round before play was halted for darkness on Friday, the Offaly man returned early on Saturday morning and birdied three of his next 17, but dropped shots on two holes as well before a quick turnaround and back out for round number three where he started at five-under.
A bogey was far from the ideal start to his third round, but he rebounded with four birdies over his next seven holes to make steady progress and found himself back inside the top 10, a position he’d occupied after his opening 67 in extremely testing conditions.
He’d bogey the ninth, birdie the 10th, but dropped another shot at the 14th as darkness descended and play was suspended, lying tied for 19th, but just six off the lead held by Canadian Nick Taylor and three off a tie for 10th.
Seamus Power, who was playing the opposite side of the course to Lowry having begun his third round on the 10th, navigated his 10 holes by posting 10 consecutive pars and lies tied for 60th.
The Waterford man had birdied his 36th hole to make the cut, and he’ll return for 28 holes on Sunday just four strokes shy of a top-25 placing at present.
Taylor, who’s played six holes in round three, leads at -13, one clear of Sahith Theegala, with Doug Ghim and Andrew Novak one further adrift at -11.
At -10 and in solo fifth, Jordan Spieth is the best placed of the marquee names, with Cameron Young among the quartet at -9 and Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas and Wyndham Clark among those sitting T10 at -8, one ahead of Lowry.
Saturday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open has become the stuff of legend in recent years, and as Jordan Spieth pointed out, crowds were spread all over the course as opposed to the typical back-nine heavy congregations and alcohol sales were limited to avoid things boiling over.
“It was Saturday at the Phoenix Open,” he smiled when asked about the atmosphere. “I think I had heard — when I went home and when I came back, I couldn’t come the same direction. The police officers had blocked it off, so I drove up and I said, how am I supposed to get back to the course. He said, we’re over capacity. It’s hazardous, so we’ve got to go through a different — once he said that, I thought maybe we were in a little bit of trouble this afternoon, but we were on the front nine so it was a little less rowdy, and I heard they stopped alcohol sales.
“Honestly, they were awesome. It was really cool actually to see that many people on the front nine. You typically just see them on the back nine here and then occasionally on 9 and a couple other spots. They were fantastic. Saturday is normally the big day, but I think with 27 holes tomorrow, we might see some more people come out than usual on Sunday anyway.”