Tuesday 24 April 2018

Ireland's Shane Lowry surges into the lead and Harrington and Dunne in contention at €6m Turkish Open

Shane Lowry of Ireland chips to the 16th green
Shane Lowry of Ireland chips to the 16th green

Phil Casey

Ireland's Shane Lowry surged into contention for his first victory in two years as Justin Rose closed in on his second in two weeks in the €6million Turkish Airlines Open.

Lowry carded a third round of 65 at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort to join Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the lead on 14 under par, with Rose, Padraig Harrington and halfway leader Nicolas Colsaerts two shots behind.

Harrington added another brilliant 65 to his first round of 64 to give himself a fighting chance just two strokes behind Lowry while Paul Dunne is a further three back on -9 after today's -4.

Colsaerts was four shots clear overnight and played the front nine in 32, but collapsed to a back nine of 41 to throw the tournament - and possibly the Race to Dubai - wide open.

Rose began the week just over a million points behind Tommy Fleetwood on the money list, but 985,000 points are on offer to the winner in Antalya and Fleetwood would win around 58,000 if he remains in a tie for 27th.

Lowry's last win was also in a World Golf Championship event, but the 30-year-old has not tasted victory since the 2015 Bridgestone Invitational and has slipped from a high of 17th in the world to his current ranking of 93rd.

"It's been a while since I've won and I can't remember back that far," Lowry said after a bogey-free 65. "But when I'm out there tomorrow hopefully something comes flooding back to me and I manage to get the job done.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there and being in the hunt. I haven't really been there for a while, so it will be good.

I've dropped down the rankings over the last while so it will be nice to earn a few world ranking points, a few Race to Dubai points as well and make sure I'm playing in Dubai (the season-ending DP World Tour Championship) in a couple of weeks."

Harrington began the day nine shots off the lead but raced to the turn in 29 and shrugged off a bogey on the par-five 15th to eventually sign for a 64.

"I did say to my caddie at one stage that Nicolas was 16 (under par) and every time we looked up he was going further forward," the three-time major winner said.

"I said, 'It would be a great tournament if Nicolas wasn't in it' and thankfully he's decided to come back to the field.

"The funny thing is he's still got a great chance of winning the tournament from where he is, but certainly there's a lot more people who are going to have restless nights because Nicolas has come back."

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