Schauffele, Morikawa atop tight PGA; 62 for Lowry

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Shane Lowry was just 11 feet, 10 inches away from history.

On Saturday at Valhalla Golf Club, the Irishman had a birdie putt on the 18th green to shoot the first-ever 61 in a major championship. But as the putt slid by on the left side, Lowry could only wince and look up at the sky in bittersweet disappointment.

A share of history would have to do.

Just two days after Xander Schauffele tied his own record for lowest round at a major with a 9-under 62 — a feat that had only been accomplished once before last year — Lowry was able to join the exclusive group by shooting his own 9 under at the PGA Championship — the fifth-ever 62 in major championship history.

The 2019 Open Championship winner at Royal Portrush started his third round at the PGA at 4 under, eight shots back of the leader, Schauffele. He made quick work of Valhalla’s front nine, carding six birdies, including four in a row from the second hole through the sixth, for a front-nine 29.

Lowry slowed down and made pars on his next three holes after making the turn, but made back-to-back birdies on the short par-4 13th hole with a 37-foot putt and the long par-3 14th thanks to a 32-foot putt. By the end of his historic round, Lowry had made 160 feet of putts. He added another birdie on the 17th hole, giving him the chance to shoot 61 had he been able to make birdie on the par-5 18th.

Record aside, Lowry is now firmly in contention to win his second major heading into Sunday’s final round. At the time he finished his round, he stood one shot back of Schauffele (14 under).

This year, Valhalla has proven to be one of the easiest courses in major championship history. Not only has the course surrendered two scores of 62 already, but after two rounds, there were 78 players under the par — the most ever in the history of any major.

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