User Menu

Shane Lowry muscles his way to share of the lead in Turkey

Pádraig Harrington’s third round 64 for 201 left him sharing third place at Regnum Carya

Shane Lowry hits his second shot on the 16th hole during the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Shane Lowry muscled his way to a share of the 54-hole lead in the €6 million Turkish Airlines Open here at Regnum Carya, as the 30-year-old Offalyman - aiming for a first tournament victory in more than two years - shot a bogey-free round of 65 for 14-under-par 199, where he was joined by Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

On what is euphemistically known as moving day on tour, Lowry and Pádraig Harrington did exactly that to ensure they will play together in the final group of a final round for the first time: Harrington has utilised his sponsor’s invitation into this big-money event to great effect, and his third round 64 for 201 left him sharing third place with Justin Rose and Nicolas Colsaerts, the overnight leader who moved backwards with an error strewn 73.

Indeed the green hue towards the top-end of the leaderboard was given further gloss by Paul Dunne, who shot a 67 for 204 which had him inside the top-15.

And there was a measure of excitement to Lowry’s voice as he realised he would be in the final grouping with Harrington. The pair have enjoyed good natured challenges throughout the week in practice but it has clearly benefited each of them, with their short games especially sharpened. Harrington only required 21 putts in his round, while Lowry gave himself chance after chance with some wonderful iron play.

“He probably won’t talk to me,” quipped Lowry of playing alongside Harrington. “No, seriously, it’s great. Hopefully it’s the two of us coming down the stretch.”

Lowry, down to 93rd in the world rankings, will be hoping to end his winless drought which dates back to his last tour win, in the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

A run of three successive birdies from the 11th to the 13th moved Lowry into the lead, which he noted for the first time when he looked at the leaderboard by the 14th green. Although he failed to find another birdie, his run of five successive pars enabled him to stay at the top of affairs, aided and abetted by Colsaerts backward movement. “Look, when you are in the lead on a Saturday afternoon it is where you want to be, so I’m happy with how I handled myself (coming in),” said Lowry, adding of chasing a fourth career win:

“The standard is so good out here and this golf course can shoot up a low number, so I am just going out and play my own game and see where that leaves me. If that leaves me coming up 18 with any sort of a lead, that would be great. I am looking forward to getting out there (in the final round) and getting after it.”

Harrington came to Turkey with little expectations of contending, having started working to prepare for next year’s campaign. However, he has discovered his game and head are in good places. “I am happy with what I am working on and I going to try and take that through my winter period and hopefully come out stronger. I didn’t expect to play so well this first week but I see nice signs of what I should be doing and not what I shouldn’t be doing,” explained the 46-year-old Dubliner.

Harrington’s rounds of 65-72-64 have put him into position to challenge, two back of the co-leaders with one round to go. Of the eight shot difference between Friday’s second round and Saturday’s third round, he explained:

“I got a lot of momentum in my round that I did not have (on Friday). I would love to have that (in the final round) but it is going to be much tougher when you have something on the line. There is no stress out there when you are well off the lead out there but then if I can be within shouting distance then it will be a different way of playing golf. You’re a little more cautious about making mistakes.”

Through his career, though, Harrington has shown the ability to get the job done when he does get into tournament contention. “I definitely play better when my back’s to the wall under a lot of pressure. I’d love to be in contention with nine holes to go. Basically, that’s it; I love that position. If I mess it up, so be it. I’ll embrace whatever happens. And I think, through experience, I can read the situation well,” said Harrington.

Dunne for his part played bogey-free golf with three birdies in four holes from the seventh and then a fourth birdie on the 17th leaving him in tied-13th and five shots behind the leaders.

Justin Rose, who overcame an eight shot final round deficit to win the HSBC Champions last Sunday, summed up how those chasing Lowry and Aphibarnrat. “Everything’s to play for, every shot counts at this stage.”

SCOREBOARD

British and Irish unless stated, par 71, (a) denotes amateurs

199 Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 66 67 66, Shane Lowry 68 66 65

201 Justin Rose 69 68 64, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 64 64 73, Pádraig Harrington 65 72 64

202 Thomas Pieters (Bel) 69 67 66

203 Stephen Gallacher 69 65 69, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 69 68 66, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 66 71 66, Eddie Pepperell 66 66 71, Matthew Southgate 69 65 69, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 70 67 66

204 Peter Uihlein (USA) 69 67 68, Julian Suri (USA) 68 70 66, Paul Dunne 67 70 67, Joost Luiten (Ned) 64 73 67, Matthew Fitzpatrick 69 65 70, Lee Westwood 67 68 69

205 Callum Shinkwin 71 67 67, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 72 66 67

206 Alexander Levy (Fra) 72 70 64, Paul Waring 70 69 67, Ian Poulter 66 71 69

207 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 67 69 71, Chris Wood 68 73 66, Richie Ramsay 71 68 68

208 Tommy Fleetwood 71 70 67, Andres Romero (Arg) 65 72 71, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 64 75 69, David Lipsky (USA) 74 67 67, Tyrrell Hatton 67 70 71, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 71 71 66, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 69 71 68

209 Robert Rock 72 69 68, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 68 71 70, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 69 71 69

210 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 70 70 70, Marcel Siem (Ger) 70 70 70, Andrew Dodt (Aus) 74 67 69, Jordan Smith 69 67 74, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 73 71 66

211 Ali Altuntas (Tur) 71 69 71, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 70 71 70, Sam Brazel (Aus) 72 72 67, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 72 71 68

212 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 73 70 69, Romain Wattel (Fra) 75 68 69, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 71 72 69, George Coetzee (Rsa) 71 71 70

213 Andrew Johnston 70 73 70, Andy Sullivan 69 69 75, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 73 68 72, Austin Connelly (Can) 72 73 68, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 69 74 70, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 74 69 70

214 Anthony Wall 74 72 68, Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 74 70 70, Scott Hend (Aus) 72 70 72, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 76 71 67

215 Matt Wallace 71 72 72, David Drysdale 68 73 74, Marc Warren 72 70 73, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 72 73 70, Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 69 70 76, Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 81 70 64, Renato Paratore (Ita) 75 71 69

216 Haotong Li (Chn) 73 73 70, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 70 74 72, David Horsey 70 73 73, Scott Jamieson 73 74 69, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 74 69 73, Lee Slattery 70 72 74, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 69 71 76

218 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 76 72 70

226 (a) Leon Acikalin (Tur) 73 77 76

227 Nino Bertasio (Ita) 75 74 78

229 Graeme Storm 75 75 79

233 (a) Taner Yamac (Tur) 79 79 75