Fifty years to the day that man landed on the moon, the first golf shot was played there a few years later

Astronaut Alan Sheperd from Apollo 14 shanked his first shot 40 yards into a crater before lofting his second shot 200 yards on February 6, 1971

 

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Shane Lowry shoots course record 63 to lead The Open by four shots

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He shook his head as the sounds of Ole Ole Ole rung out from the gallery. Shane Lowry called it “the most incredible day of his life”  It sounded like a Ryder Cup celebration, and it was only Saturday. He said his mind was still fuzzy with it all but he had had the rare experience of feeling comfortable all day and was feeding off the energy of the Irish in his gallery. He had felt completely in control of his game, he said. He certainly played aggressive golf, taking driver off the tee more times than most. But it was his iron play and his wonderful dextrous short game around the greens which was most impressive. He has such feel and creativity and releases the clubhead through the ball so well. He likes to vary his shots too, high, low, left, right. It was a very confident performance.

Lowry holds a four shot lead at -16 over Tommy Fleetwood at -12, JB Holmes at -10, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka are behind. Torrential rain is forecast for the final round with an early start planned, but Lowry is a good bad weather player. Apart from the conditions, the expectations of the home crowd for an Irish winner there are a couple of other things to contend with. He’s occasionally lost focus this week, particularly on Thursday on the back nine when he overheard a Tv commentator analysing his swing while he was on the tee about to hit his shot. He seemed a little zoned out during the final holes of the first round.

And then there’s the memory of Oakmont. During the 2016 US Open he held another 4 shot lead going into the final round, and did not win. He says he will “deal with it better this time”.

He gave everyone a magical Saturday and he says whatever happens tomorrow he might never experience anything like the support of this crowd again so he intends to enjoy every minute.

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Vital statistics

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On the third day of the Open Championship everyone has been applauding and marvelling at what relentless Shane Lowry has been doing. He’s now -15 6 ahead of the third place players. Every player in the top 20 has scored par or better.

But looking at the statistics again, they make surprising reading. Although Lowry leads the approach shots category – this course demands strong iron play – with 93%, Tommy Fleetwood is also at 88% in this category, Lowry has a very low percentage for driving accuracy at only 41%.

In driving distance Alex Noren is leading with 335 yards and Lowry is way down with 295 yards. Lee Westwood is even shorter at 281 yards, Fleetwood at  316.In the putting category Noren performs well again at 1.44 Lowry is at 1.56 and Fleetwood 1.59.

 

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Xander Schauffele’s driver fails R&A test but it spurs him on to great play

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On Tuesday Xander Schaufelle’s Callaway driver failed a random R&A test, which was introduced at the 2018 Open Championship. A 20% sample of the 156 field had their clubs tested to see if they complied with what is called the co-efficient of restitution. This is a measure of how much energy is transferred from the club to the ball at impact, which has to be up to 83%. Also tested is how long the driver face  and ball are in contact, which has to be less than 239 microseconds. Tiger Woods was also among the random sample, and his equipment passed. It is the first time a player’s equipment has failed this test.

Speaking on Friday Schauffele said

“Yesterday it wasn’t really matching my bag, which was a bummer. I was getting a little upset on the golf course,” Schauffele said. “Today I was testing a little bit on the range again with two different heads. But moved a few weights around and sort of found a good setting.”

I have a legal driver now, and I sort of put that one to rest and happy to see that ball performing like it did today or the driver performing like it did today, so that was very comforting,” he said. “Like I said it will get better every day. We’ve still got two more.”

“I had a little bit of run-in with them, because they only test 30 players. I thought it was a little bit unfair,” Schauffele said after his Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero was dinged on Tuesday. “I would gladly give up my driver if it’s not conforming. But there’s still 130 other players in the field that potentially have a nonconforming driver as well.”

On Friday Schaufelle shot 65, the best score of the day and is currently -4 for his round on Saturday, three birdies in four holes within one shot of the lead.

A reporter for Golf Digest has observed this

“Update on the Xander/driver controversy. Multiple sources tell Golf Digest Schauffele may not have been the only player to fail the CT test, with 3-to-4 manufacturers at fault. Asked about other failed tests, the R&A told us it wouldn’t comment further on the process”

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Rory has brilliant second round of 65, but will miss the cut

Nice tribute to Rory McIlroy’s magnificent comeback round of 65 today from fellow professional Justin Thomas

“Even as a competitor and trying to beat the guy every week, sometimes I have to step back and realize how great @McIlroyRory is for golf. How he handles the spotlight, the highs, the lows, his social life, the fans, his golf, everything.. it’s awesome to watch”

Starting the round at lowly 147th place, Rory managed to shoot -5 for the first 12 holes before the rain set in, A bogey on 13 followed by another on 14 was followed by a birdie putt from 12 feet on the difficult par 3 16th hole which is called calamity.

He needed a birdie from one of the two finishing holes to make the cut but a cruel missed putt on 17 was followed by a strong par on 18 to reach +2: his 65 equalled the lowest score of the day, but he will be missing the cut by 1 shot.

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When they play on the Champions tour – Faceapp does its worst

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Around the Open – live music

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