Frustrating day for Irish trio as Rose blossoms in Turkey
Paul Dunne and Pádraig Harrington could only watch in admiration as Justin Rose continued his seemingly inexorable drive back to the top of the world rankings in the Turkish Airlines Open.
The Englishman cruised to a second successive 65 on a trying day for the Irish at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort, closing with a textbook birdie to lead by two shots from Dane Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and English pair Danny Willett (65) and Tom Lewis (63) on 12-under par.
The Olympic champion, who must retain the title to become world number one again tomorrow, was at his metronomic best as Dunne (71) and Harrington (70) hit a succession of bum notes.
The young Greystones star got so angry with himself at the 16th, where he drove into the trees and hit another with his recovery en route to a bogey, that his curses were beamed into homes across the world and quickly took to Twitter to beg forgiveness.
"Apologies for the on-course language today to anyone watching," Dunne (right) tweeted after doing well in the end to limit the damage to a level-par 71 that left him tied for 11th with Harrington on seven-under, five shots behind Rose.
"Frustration got the better of me on 16."
Playing with Lewis and Tommy Fleetwood (just four behind after a 66), Shane Lowry also turned the air blue after he hit a bad tee shot left into thick rough at the 17th, plugged his overambitious second in a bunker and made a double-bogey six en route to a 70 that leaves him a daunting eight shots off the pace on four-under.
Lowry's putting was far from its best but it was a horrendous day on the greens for Harrington as his frequent errors with the blade - he three-putted the fourth, 16th and 18th - killed all his momentum.
Level-par for the day with four holes to play, his round was perfectly summed up by his roller-coaster finish.
After following a superb eagle three at the 15th with a three-putt bogey at the 16th, he came up inches short of a water hazard in the left rough at the 17th but still found a way to hit the green and hole a 25 footer for birdie.
Even when he drove into the trees right at the 18th, he managed to manufacture a recovery that kicked onto the green. But from 40 feet he came up nearly six feet short and never threatened the hole with his par putt.
He did his best to be upbeat at the finish, even mischievously scribbling "Paddy Harrington waz here" on the flaking bark on a pine tree before leaning against it to recount his tale of woe.
"Just a bad day on the greens," he sighed. "Energy-sapping. I just missed putt, after putt, after putt. It's a tough day when you are doing that. It just kills the rest of the game.
"I played lovely, played great and was very happy but by the end of the round I was worn out, beaten up, worn down. It was a killer. It wore me down. I putted horrible."
Reminded of the glorious hybrid he hit to the 15th and the 15-footer he made for eagle there, followed by a celebratory saunter to the hole, he shook his head.
"I know, I know, but three-putting on 16 and 18! And all the other missed putts as well, it just kills the day."
Dunne was one-over for his round after he snap-hooked his tee shot into water and double-bogeyed the 10th. But after he eagled the 12th and birdied the 14th to move back into contention on nine-under, bad tee shots led to bogeys at the 16th and 18th.
At the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final. Spain's Adri Arnaus takes a three-stroke lead into the final round after his five-under 67 yesterday.
Michael Hoey shot a four-under 68 to move up to tied 18th, but at four-under, he's seven shots outside the top-three finish he would need to make the top 15 in the money list who will earn European Tour cards today.
On the PGA Tour, Graeme McDowell made the cut after a four-under 67 left him on five under at the Shriners Hospitals Open, five shots off clubhouse leader Abraham Ancer. Séamus Power failed to make the cut after a second consecutive 75.