Shane Lowry was frustrated not to turn it on for massive crowds in the US PGA but a good finish could still give him a chance of more big time golf this season - at the Seve Trophy.
The Clara ace, 26, had high hopes of racing into contention with a hot third round at Oak Hill. Instead he had another average day on the greens in his first major Saturday in the US - 31 putts - with a five over 75 leaving him tied for 63rd with the likes of Darren Clarke on six over.
For the third day running, both men were denied on the greens with the ball appearing to take the famous ‘cellophane bridge’ and run over the hole. It was a similar tale for Graeme McDowell as he shot 73 with 31 putts to fall back to 34th on two over.
“That’s life,” Lowry sighed after mixing eight bogeys with just three birdies. “I couldn’t do much right today, struggled on the front nine and didn’t play great.
“Yet again my putting let me down today and it’s becoming quite frustrating now. Even the good putts I hit are lipping out and after nine holes I tried to shoot under par coming home.
“I came out of the blocks well with birdies at 11 and 12 but lipped out with a good putt on 13, lipped out on 14 and then missed a short one on 15. That was my momentum gone straight away.
“It’s quite disheartening because I am not playing as bad as six over par for three rounds out there. It’s a bit disappointing but that’s golf at this level.”
Lowry went out in five over 40 and was denied a lift at the finish when he hit a sensational seven iron from 185 yards to 15 feet below the hole at the 18th but lipped out again.
All is not lost, however. With crucial Seve Trophy points up for grabs today, he wants to finish well and give himself a chance of more big time golf when Great Britain and Ireland take on Continental Europe in Paris from October 3-6.
Lowry said: “I am quite close to the team so that’s an even I’d love to play with the top guys and I might make it if Justin Rose and Ian Poulter decide not to play.
“I love playing in front of big crowds and I am learning all the time from events like this. I was quite disappointed going around there today so I took a moment on 18 to take in the atmosphere and the big crowds.
“You have to savour moments like that because there are plenty of times when you are playing at half seven on a Saturday or Sunday morning and no-one is watching you.
“That’s why I want to go out tomorrow and shoot as good a score as I can because I know I can shoot good scores around here.
“You whole game has to be on in majors. You can have a bad nine holes in a normal event, shoot one or two over, and get away with it. But do that at this level and you fall rapidly down the leaderboard.
“Looking at the positives, with only nine bad holes in three rounds at a major it is not that bad. Missing greens and chipping to four feet and missing putts is quite frustrating and it makes it hard to keep going.”
European Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley will handpick the two Seve Trophy captains but it remains to be seen if he chooses old pal Darren Clarke to lead Great Britain and Ireland following their fraught Ryder Cup captaincy campaign.
Like Lowry, the big Dungannon man struggled off the tee and on the greens, holing a 25 footer for a closing birdie three and a 74 that left him alongside the Clara man on six over.
“I didn’t swing it that well today and kept hitting it just in the rough and from there I kept just short-siding myself,” Clarke said. “I kept hitting it to six feet for par and kept missing them from six feet. I was either under-reading the putts or over-reading them - I just couldn’t quite get it today at all.”
After leading the Irish challenge in The Open, Clarke is still positive about his game after a rough two years since he won the Claret Jug at Sandwich.
He beamed: “I didn’t plan to go out today and shoot 74 but at the same time I kept going and made a nice three on the last.
“Overall with my game I am encouraged because I played really nice yesterday, where I was hitting it just on the fairway as opposed to just off the fairway. That’s the difference.”
McDowell was solid from tee to green once more - he hit 10 fairways and missed just six greens. Yet it was the greens that cost him yet again as he took 31 putts, including a zero putt par at the third, and single-putted just four times.
One over after a three-putt bogey at the sixth, he dropped another shot at the 10th where he missed the fairway before finally getting a shot back at the par-five 13th.
A bogey at the driveable 14th killed his momentum immediately and he then bunkered his tee shot at the 15th and failed to get up and down before finishing with three impressive, regulation par fours.