Shane Lowry played superbly throughout The 148th Open on his way to a runaway victory, but his best performance undoubtedly came in a record-breaking third round.
Having reached the halfway point of the Championship tied for the lead at eight under alongside J.B. Holmes, Lowry had already generated great excitement at Royal Portrush.
Yet few could have possibly anticipated what the Irishman would go on to deliver that Saturday at The Open.
On a day that will live long in the memory of those who were in attendance, Lowry surged clear of the field in breathtaking fashion, opening up a four-shot advantage with a 63 that set a new course record following Portrush’s remodelling in 2016.
The raw statistics of Lowry’s round were impressive enough. He collected eight birdies, did not drop a single shot and hit 17 out of 18 greens in regulation.
The fact the man from Clara played so well amid an increasingly frenzied atmosphere was all the more incredible, as a huge crowd revelled in the prospect of celebrating a Champion Golfer from the island of Ireland.
While many may have struggled to handle the growing expectation, Lowry simply went from strength to strength as the roars grew louder.
After picking up strokes at the third and fifth, he stepped things up around the turn, birdieing the ninth, 10th and 12th to boost his challenge for the Claret Jug. His approach to the 10th provided a notable highlight as he used the contours of the course beautifully following a prolonged discussion with his caddie, Bo Martin.
Lowry then produced another spectacular surge over the closing stretch to take control of the Championship, collecting three successive birdies from the 15th including a two at 16 that owed much to a magnificent tee shot.
He even came within a whisker of another birdie at the 18th, which would have seen him match the record score in a major of 62, achieved by Branden Grace in The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
Although his putt for a three at the last just stayed above ground, it did nothing to dilute a party atmosphere at Portrush that was sustained as Lowry sealed victory in style by six strokes the following day.
Reflecting on his third round, Lowry said: “I said to Bo walking off the 17th tee: ‘We might never have a day like this on the golf course again, so let’s enjoy this next half an hour.’
“And that’s what I did. The crowd was incredible. I just can’t believe what it was like.
“Honestly, that’s the most incredible day I’ve ever had on the golf course.”