Lowry opens up five-shot lead early in British Open final round

Lowrey (right) has extended his lead to five shots in the final round of the British Open. (AFP pic)

PORTRUSH: Shane Lowry overcame a nervy start to open up a five-shot lead at the British Open after four holes of his final round on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Irishman, given a massive reception on the opening tee by the spectators at Royal Portrush, pulled his first shot and holed a tricky putt just to save a bogey on one.

But he steadied himself with successive pars, before rolling in a birdie on the fourth to return to 16-under par for the tournament.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood, playing with Lowry in the last pairing, missed good chances for birdie on the first two holes before bogeying the par-three third and slipping to 11-under.

Lee Westwood bounced back from a first-hole bogey to power to 10-under, two-under for his round, and keep his slim hopes of a maiden major title alive.

But world No 1 Brooks Koepka collapsed out of contention having started the day on nine-under, making four consecutive bogeys as his game deserted him.