Tommy Fleetwood thrives in horrendous conditions at Scottish Open

Ian Poulter says: ‘that’s as tough a day as I’ve seen on a golf course in 21 years’

England’s Tommy Fleetwood on the third tee during the third round of the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Photograph: PA

England’s Tommy Fleetwood on the third tee during the third round of the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Photograph: PA

 

Tommy Fleetwood revelled in horrendous conditions to play himself into contention for a sixth European Tour title in the £5.4million ASI Scottish Open.

Fleetwood defied gusting winds and constant heavy rain, which left parts of the course at the Renaissance Club under water, to card a third round of 69 and finish seven under par, two shots behind fellow Englishman Robert Rock.

The last few groups finished in near darkness and Rock contemplated not continuing on the par-three 17th as he struggled to see the pin, but the 43-year-old parred the last two holes to complete an excellent 72.

Ian Poulter, Marcus Kinhult and Wade Ormsby share second place alongside Fleetwood, but overnight leader Lucas Herbert slumped six shots off the pace after struggling to a 79.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington is three under par overall after a third round 69 where he shot three of his four birdies on the back nine.

“I loved every minute of it,” Fleetwood insisted after ending his round with a birdie on the 18th. “It’s golf isn’t it? Let’s face it, with the money we play for these days it does not do any harm does it? It’s fine. I’d play in it every day if that’s what it took. I’m really happy and the birdie on 18 left the day feeling really good.

“You’re grinding all day and occasionally look at the leaderboard and see everyone is doing the same and three pars moves you up a few places, so every birdie is like gold dust.

“It was pretty relentless. The rain didn’t stop for half a second and just got worse and progressively worse and windy throughout day. It was pretty tough towards the end. The golf shots I was hitting, you have to give yourself a pat on the back sometimes, and I’m really, really happy with how I hit the shots coming in. My coach walked in after nine holes so I’ll have to debrief him.”

Poulter began the day two shots off the lead and remarkably played the first 11 holes in two under par before the worsening conditions contributed to four dropped shots in the last seven holes.

“I think it’s pretty good, I have to say,” Poulter said after his 73. “It was damage limitation whenever you missed a green or fairway and that was hard work. That’s as tough a day as I’ve seen on a golf course in 21 years.

“It was a shame towards the end it just got unmanageable really, but on the front nine I played some great golf.

“It’s really easy to sit here and just moan and say the golf course got unplayable, right. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to say it was a massive mental challenge, and we needed all of the greenkeepers’ help to get us here.

“You can’t really see a pin over the closing couple of holes and the green staff did an incredible job to give us the chance to somewhat get into the clubhouse without stopping.”

Rock, who held off Tiger Woods to win his most recent European Tour title in Abu Dhabi in 2012, declined to speak to reporters after his round.

Victor Dubuisson, Adri Arnaus and Gavin Green had all made the cut on the mark of one under par, but matching rounds of 67 in the slightly better early conditions lifted the trio into a tie for sixth with England’s Andy Sullivan, who returned a 69.

Dubuisson was unbeaten on his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles in 2014 and reached a career-high of 14th in the world the same year, but began this week ranked 400th. The 30-year-old played just twice in 2018 following surgery on a perforated eardrum and has recorded just two top-10 finishes in the past two seasons.

The Scottish trio of Robert MacIntyre, Marc Warren and Grant Forrest are part of an 11-strong group on four under par, five shots off the lead.

Collated third round scores and totals (British unless stated, par 71):

204 Robert Rock 65 67 72

206 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 66 69 71, Tommy Fleetwood 69 68 69, Ian Poulter 67 66 73, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 66 70 70

208 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 73 68 67, Adri Arnaus (Spa) 75 66 67, Andy Sullivan 67 72 69, Gavin Green (Mal) 70 71 67

209 Kalle Samooja (Fin) 65 70 74, David Horsey 70 67 72, Callum Shinkwin 69 70 70, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 69 70 70, Grant Forrest 71 66 72, Aaron Rai 70 69 70, Jeff Winther (Den) 71 69 69, Marc Warren 70 69 70, Robert Macintyre 74 67 68, Eddie Pepperell 68 70 71, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 70 70 69, Lee Westwood 62 71 76

210 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 68 66 76, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 63 75 72, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 68 70 72, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 68 70 72, Matthew Southgate 68 71 71, Scott Jamieson 64 73 73, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 66 65 79, Connor Syme 70 69 71, Padraig Harrington (Irl) 71 70 69

211 Joost Luiten (Ned) 63 72 76, Francesco Laporta (Ita) 71 70 70, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 73 68 70, Garrick Higgo (Rsa) 72 67 72, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 69 67 75, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 71 69 71, Sean Crocker (USA) 73 68 70, Rasmus Hojgaard (Den) 68 70 73

212 Craig Lee 65 71 76, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 72 64 76, Haotong Li (Chn) 68 70 74, Julian Suri (USA) 70 70 72, Victor Perez (Fra) 69 69 74, Jordan Smith 70 70 72, Min Woo Lee (Aus) 66 74 72, Ewan Ferguson 69 70 73

213 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 70 67 76, Matt Wallace 70 71 72, David Howell 72 67 74, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 71 67 75, James Morrison 72 67 74, Matthew Fitzpatrick 69 72 72, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 74 67 72, 214 Maverick Antcliff (Aus) 69 70 75, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 68 72 74, Calum Hill 71 70 73, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 71 70 73

215 Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 68 72 75, Sami Valimaki (Fin) 68 69 78, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 69 69 77, George Coetzee (Rsa) 71 69 75

216 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 70 69 77

217 Ashun Wu (Chn) 70 70 77, Thomas Detry (Bel) 71 69 77

218 Scott Hend (Aus) 71 70 77

219 Chris Wood 69 71 79

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