Friday, 16 November, 2018

Van Rooyen takes four-shot lead after three rounds at Irish Open

Ryan Fox plays a shot during his excellent first round at the County Donegal links on Thursday Ryan Fox plays a shot during his excellent first round at the County Donegal links on Thursday
Shannon Reynolds | 11 July, 2018, 06:05

Padraig Harrington may have missed the cut on Friday, but there is still plenty of Irish interest in day three of the Irish Open in Ballyliffin.

Asked what would happen if he could combine this week's ball-striking with his putting at Bay Hill, the 29-year-old added: "I would win every week I played, simple as that".

Last year's victor Jon Rahm produced some familiar brilliance in round four of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin GC, ending a 6-under-par 34-32=66 with four closing birdies to finish at 12-under 276 for the week, good enough for T4 and two back from the play-off number set by Russell Knox and Ryan Fox.

A blistering front nine helped Erik van Rooyen shoot a six-under 66 on Saturday to take control of the Irish Open.

Lee Westwood, who will be one of Bjorn's vice-captains in Paris in September, is a shot further back on five under, while tournament host Rory McIlroy is seven off the pace after a disappointing 73.

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He followed that brilliant start with nine straight pars on the back nine to allow New Zealander Ryan Fox, Sweden's Joakim Lagergren, Englishman Danny Willett and Scotland's Russell Knox retain some hope of catching him and dethroning the reigning champion Jon Rahm.

"The mindset was just keep going, I guess", said the 28-year-old, looking to become only the second South African victor of the Irish Open after Bobby Locke in 1938. "You sometimes get in a groove as a golfer where things just happen and you hit great shots and great putts and that's what happened".

"I'd love to be in the Open and Carnoustie is one of the best golf courses in the world", Fox said.

"The mindset was just keep going", Johannesburg-born Van Rooyen said. "Looking back, all in all, I think it was a good day".

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