GOLF

Chasing pack makes a move as the rain begins to fall in Ballyliffen

Defending champion Rahm back in contention at Irish Open

Diarmaid Doherty

Reporter:

Diarmaid Doherty

Email:

Sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Day 3 of the Irish Open

Players get some practice in on the putting area at Ballyliffen on Saturday

There has been some early drama at Ballyliffen as the action continues on Day 3 of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.


Reigning champion Jon Lahm has made significant strides up the leaderboard this morning and as he nears the end of his third round, he finds himself back in contention at six under for the tournament and five under for his round today.


The bit hitting Spaniard is tied for fifth alongside another of today’s early starters, England’s Andy Sullivan who shot a brilliant seven under round 65.


Sullivan began his third round at 7.20 this morning and closed with three birdies in his final three holes to move to six under for the tournament.


The vast majority of those still involved on Day 3 are now out on the course, including all the Irish contingent - Shane Lowry taking to the first tee shortly after 11.30am, to warm applause from those gathered around the tee box


Unfortunately for Lowry, who was at two under overnight, he didn’t get off to the kind of start he wished for, dropping a shot on the par four first to drop back to one under. He remains at one under through seven holes of his round.


There are big crowds here today once again - we’ve had big crowds all week - and they’re still coming in, although for the first time, we’ve had some rain showers on what’s a cloudy day in Ballyliffen.


Quite a few fans are following Rory McIlroy in his third round. McIlroy started out at 10.45 this morning at 1 under.


He opened with a birdie three on the first, only to give that shot back again with a bogey on the second, but he went on to birdie the par 5 fourth. With 11 holes played today, he’s level for his round and one under for the tournament.


Simon Thornton, like Lowry, began today at two under, but he dropped a shot at the seventh and after ten holes today, he sits at one under for the tournament.


Graeme McDowell was one over for his 18 holes today, having began at level par. And Paul Dunne, also among the early starters this morning, completed his third round at level par 72, so he will go into Day 4 at plus one


At the other end of the leaderboard, the leading trio of Ryan Fox of New Zealand, Matthieyu Pavon of France and Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa are all starting shortly after 1pm at 8 under par.