Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington one off the lead in Dunhill Links

France’s Raphael Jaquelin leads on nine under as Rory McIlroy makes move with 67

Shane Lowry and Pádraig Harrington will start the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship just one shot off the lead of Frenchman Raphael Jaquelin.

Lowry added a round of 70 at St Andrews to his opening 66 at Kingsbarns to finish eight under par in the pro-am event, while Harrington also carded a two-under 70 at Kingsbarns after an opening 66 at Carnoustie.

Jaquelin birdied the final two holes at Kingsbarns to go ahead of the Irish duo, a 70 leaving him on nine under.

First-round leader Oliver Wilson (72) and France's Alexander Levy (68) were also on eight under after their rounds at Kingsbarns.


World No 1 Rory McIlroy carded a five-under 67 at Kingsbarns to move up the leaderboard to four under ahead of his third round at St Andrews.

Eleven of the top 12 scores came from players who were at Kingsbarns on Friday and Carnoustie on Thursday, when calm conditions meant traditionally the hardest of the three venues played relatively easy.

“I’m pretty happy, especially the way I finished,” said Jacquelin, whose last win came in a record-equalling nine-hole play-off in the Spanish Open last year. “I birdied 17 and 18 so it was good before having dinner and going to rest.

Lowry, who finished joint third in this event 12 months ago, was the only player in the top 12 to play at St Andrews on Friday, meaning he will face Carnoustie on Saturday before the final round is again played over the Old Course.

“To be honest, the way I played to shoot two under was quite good,” said Lowry after a round containing four bogeys and six birdies. “The forecast was pretty bad today and everyone was expecting the worst, but it wasn’t actually that bad.

“It played quite easy toward the end and I could have picked up a couple more, but I’m happy with the position I’m in with two rounds to go. Hopefully I can go out to Carnoustie tomorrow and hopefully the weather is not too bad over there and I can shoot a decent score.”

Harrington won the first of his back-to-back British Open titles at Carnoustie in 2007 but has not won a tournament on a major worldwide tour since the 2008 US PGA.

The 43-year-old Dubliner was a vice-captain at last week’s Ryder Cup and although he admits he has a lot more to learn before bidding to captain the side, he has set himself an ambitious target.

“I think the big one for me, I’ve got to get inside the top 15 in the world to make the Olympics in 2016,” said Harrington, who is currently ranked 324th. “I’ve got 22 months to go. I’m starting at absolute zero probably at the moment.

“I really feel good about my game, so I believe I can do it.”

McIlroy, who is keen to make the cut in the team event so his amateur partner, his father Gerry, can play at St Andrews on his 55th birthday this Sunday, started the day nine shots off the pace and dropped back to two over par with a bogey on the 14th.

However, he responded in style with a superb fairway-wood approach to the par-5 16th and rolled in the eagle putt from 15 feet on his way to a round of 67 at Kingsbarns.

“I think the eagle on 16 kickstarted something for me,” the 25-year-old said. “I just went from there, started to knock a few putts in. I felt like I struck the ball pretty well for the first couple of days, but just to see a few putts roll in sort of gave me a little bit of confidence and played well after that.

“It would mean an awful lot to win at St Andrews. But if I didn’t, I wouldn’t mind waiting until July next year.”

That is when the Northern Irishman will defend his British Open title on the famous old links.