Saturday 20 January 2018

Luiten: I have nothing to lose

Joost Luiten leads the Irish Open by one shot with one round to play
Joost Luiten leads the Irish Open by one shot with one round to play

Holland's Joost Luiten will take a narrow lead into the final round of the Irish Open as he seeks a second European Tour win in three events.

Luiten followed his victory in the Lyoness Open in Austria with a share of 10th place in Munich last weekend and a third round of 66 at Carton House maintained his superb run of form.

Six birdies and no bogeys saw the 27-year-old finish 13 under par - one shot ahead of Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, who also carded a flawless 66 - with England's Robert Rock two shots back after a 71.

Former world number three Paul Casey, currently ranked 169th after struggling for form and fitness, is a shot further back after a 67 left him nine under alongside Scotland's Scott Henry, who followed his course-record 64 on Friday with a 69.

Ireland's hopes of a home winner faded as 2009 winner Shane Lowry fell eight shots off the pace with a 74 after major winners Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke had all missed the halfway cut. Fellow Irishman Peter Lawrie fared a little better, carding a 67 to finish on six under.

"I don't really care who is behind me, as long as they stay behind me," Luiten said. "You still have to go out and make some birdies, be patient and take it one shot at a time.

"It's always good to have a win under your belt. You can go a little bit more for the win. You have nothing to lose so that's how I am going to go out tomorrow.

"I've been working on my swing for a long time and am finally fully fit after a shoulder problem which meant I couldn't practise as much on the range. It has been good for a couple of months and feels really good now."

Larrazabal, who had four top-six finishes in five events earlier this season but has not tasted victory since 2011, said: "I tried to push and make birdies and that's what I did on the front nine.

"I love to play in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, they are the best crowds in the world. When you're playing well it's a pleasure to be playing this game."

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