Lowry sets off in search of US Open glory

Ireland's Shane Lowry set off in search of his first major title at the US Open on Sunday, nursing a four-stroke lead into the final round.

Shane Lowry tees off in the final round of the US Open.   -  AP

Shane Lowry set off in search of his first major title at the US Open on Sunday, nursing a four-stroke lead into the final round of the year's second major.

The burly Irishman, seeking to become the first player from his country to win the tournament, had two birdies in the last four holes of the delayed third round in the early morning to carve out a handsome advantage.

He was on seven-under, the best-ever third round total at Oakmont, and four clear of Americans Dustin Johnson and Andrew Landry, with veteran Englishman Lee Westwood and American Daniel Summerhays a further shot back.

None of those players had won a major before and Lowry's lead was still intact when he stepped onto the first tee, as none them were able to birdie the first. Scott Piercy birdied the first two holes to move up to two-under.

Meanwhile, from way down the leaderboard, Brooks Koepka was putting together the round of the tournament with six birdies and an eagle through 13 holes to get to even par four the tournament.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth was well out of it at eight-over at the turn. Ranked 41st in the world, Lowry believes he is ready to take the step up to become a major champion and become just the second player from the Republic of Ireland to do so after Padraig Harrington, who has three to his name.

Still, he expects there to be some fun and games with the 67 players who made the cut for the final two rounds.

"It's going to be tough. I mean, let's be honest, I've already visualised myself winning. Even out walking around the course this morning, when you get a few moments to yourself, you do think about that," he said after completing a superb 65. "I've just got to go out and play my own game. No matter what happens, I just have to get up and play the next shot. I'm sure there are going to be little twists in the tale this afternoon, I will be expecting that, and we will just have to see how it goes."

Lowry went out in the final pairing with Landry, a sectional qualifier ranked 624th in the world, who no one, apart from himself, thought would be in such an elevated position on Sunday.

Playing in his first major and having missed six cuts in the 11 US Tour events he had played this year, the 28-year-old Texan said that he was determined to not let the occasion get to him.

"No change. No change. I'm still here. Just same exact person. Same exact beliefs, and I'm just sticking to my game plan. That's all I can say," he said.

In the penultimate pairing, Johnson and Westwood form a duo that have both come close to winning a major tournament on multiple occasions, but who have both been unable nail it down.

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