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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ex-champion Spieth gone with the wind

Offaly native Shane Lowry finished with a final round of 73 to finish the US Open on three-over at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. AP
Offaly native Shane Lowry finished with a final round of 73 to finish the US Open on three-over at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. AP

Former champion Jordan Spieth was among the interested spectators as the US Open headed for a thrilling climax at Erin Hills yesterday.

Despite winds gusting up to 25mph which forced tournament officials to change the pin position on the par-three 13th, Spieth showed what was still possible with a closing 69.

Previous rounds of 73, 71 and 76 meant the 23-year-old was finished before the final few groups teed off, but that allowed him to make plans to watch good friends Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler do battle with the likes of England's Tommy Fleetwood for the year's second major.

Spieth had struggled on the greens all week at Erin Hills and both of his bogeys on Sunday came from three-putting, but the former world number one was pleased not to have "thrown in the towel".

"I thought it was a fantastic round of golf, given what we were dealing with to start the day," the 23-year-old said. "This (wind) is light and variable compared to the beginning of the day, but that's what you get for playing a poor first few rounds.

"I struck the ball the same way I have been. I think I hit 17 greens today which was just awesome in these conditions. And then my expectations were lowered on the greens given the conditions. I think that was the difference.

"I was able to get to a few under by just accepting the fact that the putt might miss instead of having to have it be perfect. That's what we've been working on, but maybe a day like today is all it needed to just kind of calm down."

Victory for any of the top 16 players on the leaderboard would extend the streak of first-time major winners to seven, a run dating back to Jason Day's win in the 2015 US PGA.

Offalyman Shane Lowry hit a final round of 73 to finish on three over for the tournament.

Lowry also hit a 73 the day before, a one-shot improvement on Friday's round, with the 30-year-old's best round (71) coming on the first day.

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