Shane Lowry continues hot stretch at Cognizant Classic; holds 54-hole co-lead

Shane Lowry feels right at home at PGA National, the site of this week’s Cognizant Classic.

In 2021, the man from County Offaly finished in a tie for fifth. One year later, he finished in solo second, one stroke behind fellow Ryder Cup teammate Sepp Straka.

This time around, Lowry sits at 13-under through 54 holes, holding a piece of the lead with Englishman David Skinns and American Austin Eckroat.

“It was pretty good,” Lowry said of his third round 5-under 66.

“I started off really well and got myself right into it and kept going. Hit some great shots when I needed to.”

Lowry was on fire out of the gate, birdieing three of his four holes to quickly get to 11-under par.

But the critical point in his round came at the par-4 8th, where Lowry hooked his tee shot into the water.

After taking a drop, the Irishman faced 141 yards for his third shot.

He stuck it to within five feet and calmly rolled it in for an unconventional yet pivotal par.

“You know when you go out on this golf course and this tournament that you’re going to face a bit of adversity somewhere, and I did a little bit today, and I felt like I dealt with it quite well,” Lowry said.

Later, at the par-4 13th, Lowry missed a three-footer for par.

He could not convert a terrific birdie opportunity on the next hole, missing a putt from 12 feet.

His temper could have flared then, which could have compounded his mistakes.

“Thirteen was very disappointing,” Lowry added.

“But I feel like I was very proud of myself after that because sometimes I can lose it a little bit when I miss a short putt like that, and I felt from there on in, I hit the ball really well and I putted quite nicely coming in. I was very happy with how I reacted after that.”

Lowry responded admirably, playing his final five holes in 2-under par. He made birdies at the par-4 16th and the par-5 18th to finish at 13-under.

He loves this golf course, even though it is one of the more challenging courses PGA Tour players face all year.

“I like playing tough golf,” Lowry said.

“I like it when everything is on the line a lot out there. You’re standing there over a lot of shots on this golf course, a lot that means a lot, as in one bad swing can lead to a big number.”

Rory McIlroy had one bad swing Saturday, as ‘The Bear Trap’ bit him, especially on the 16th. McIlroy made a mess of things there, making a triple bogey seven to drop him out of contention.

Lowry, meanwhile, did not suffer the same fate, as he looks to get his first PGA Tour victory since his triumph at The Open Championship in 2019.

“I’ve obviously played quite well over the last few days,” Lowry said.

“I’ll take nothing for granted. I’ll prepare as best I can in the morning, do the same thing I’ve been doing all week, and go out there and give it myself, and if my best is good enough [Sunday], that will be amazing. If not, we’ll be back to the drawing board on Monday.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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