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I really can't remember a more starkly contrasted turn of events for two golfers at a major. Here's what happened:
At the end of the 2nd round of the 2019 British Open, J.B. Holmes and Shane Lowry were tied for first place atop the leaderboard, both at -8 under par overall. Holmes shot a 66 and 68 through two days and Lowry a 67 and 67. Both played exceptional golf to that point.
Then the third round. Lowry shot a brilliant 63 on the day, setting a course record and giving himself a nice big lead over everyone else. At this point Lowry was -16 overall. And for J.B. Holmes.. not so bad. He shot a respectable 69 and finished -10 after 3 rounds, in third place. Still anyone's tournament really.
Then the final round came. You could argue that weather played a part in this round for sure. Most golfers shot high 60's at best and even more in the low to mid 70's. So scores were worse in the final round.
But still. Shane Lowry shot a 72 on the day and won the whole tournament going away, at -15 under par. The next closest golfer to him was Tommy Fleetwood who finished 6 strokes behind Lowry at -9 overall.
Then came JB Holmes, in what can only be described as one of the most epic collapses in any major ever. Holmes began the day with a double bogey and then bogeyed holes 4, 6, 8 and 9. To his credit he birdied hole 7. But that was the lone highlight. On the back-nine he triple bogeyed 11, double bogeyed 12, bogeyed at 14 and 16, and finished the day with back-to-back double bogeys and 17 and 18. Wow.
That gave him a 87 on the day, or a +16 in the round. He went from -10 at the beginning of the round on the tournament overall, to +6 overall. He went from 3rd place to tied for 67th.
So.. at the end of two rounds Lowry and Holmes were tied for first and both playing exceptionally well. Lowry won it all and Holmes turned in one of the worst final rounds in major history. That was pretty wild to watch.
I feel sorry for Holmes a bit. He has never won a major and now a ton of people are giving him extra grief for his extremely slow play on the field as well. So not only did he have a very bad finish, but his style of play is being mocked.
Hopefully Holmes can eventually redeem himself and Lowry can use this to help further launch his career as a top golfer. But I just thought that was far and away the biggest story to take away from the 2019 British Open.