Lowry set to battle elements and chasing pack at Portrush

Shane Lowry was due to do battle with the elements as well as the chasing pack in his bid to the win The Open at Royal Portrush on Sunday.

The Irishman produced a breath-taking eight-under 63 on a glorious day of clear skies and sunshine on Saturday to move to 16 under for the tournament, four clear of nearest rival Tommy Fleetwood.

Lowry and Fleetwood were scheduled to begin their final rounds at 1.47pm local time, with tee times brought forward due to the threat of the inclement weather.

As well as the heavy rains forecast on the Dunluce Links, the ominous presence of four-time major winner Brooks Koepka was looming large, albeit the American was seven shots back of the lead.

Koepka was due to play alongside compatriot J.B. Holmes (-10), while Justin Rose (-9) and Rickie Fowler (-8) were set to be in the third from last group.

Among the early starters, several players were showing birdie opportunities are out there - albeit the worst of the predicted weather was yet to hit Portrush.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat shot a four under, and defending champion Francesco Molinari and Doc Redman were on the same score through 13 and 10 holes respectively.

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