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US Open: Shane Lowry expects tough final round after third-round struggle

Shane Lowry reckons level par could be enough to win the US Open after an excruciating third round under difficult conditions at Pinehurst.

Lowry made the halfway cut on the mark of five over par and remained on that total after carding three birdies and three bogeys in a round of 70.

Sweden's Ludvig Aberg held a one-shot lead at the halfway stage on five under par, but Lowry believes the increasingly difficult conditions will send scores soaring over the weekend.

"It's torture out there, honestly it's absolute mental torture," the former Open champion said. That's the best level par I've ever shot in my life.

"Every single shot you have, even when you hit a good shot the putts you have, it's brutally difficult.

"You're standing in the middle of the fairway on par fours with an eight iron in hand and you're like 'Right, where will I miss this' instead of thinking where will I hit it.

"It's not much craic out there to be honest.

"It's obviously firmer than it was last few days. It's way windier. The wind's in a different direction so some of the par fours are really long. You really just have to manage your way well around there and I did a great job today."

Lowry began the day with a bogey on the first, but birdied the sixth and holed a bunker shot for another on the seventh.

"My first hole of the day I hit two lovely shots to the middle of the green and had 40 feet for birdie and I thought I could easily putt this into the bunker," he added.

"So I left it 10 feet short and missed the next one. That's kind of nearly what you have to do. You have to be very clever the way you go about your business.

"I'm very happy because I think the scoring is going to come way back this afternoon and I was thinking level par's not going to be very far away this weekend.

"The leaders and the guys under par just need to get it into their heads that level par with nine holes to play on Sunday will have a chance.

"If you get on a bad run you just need to steady the ship and keep going, you don't need to make birdies."

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