England’s Robert Rock shot a course record ten under par round of 60 to take a one-shot lead at a sold-out Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Saturday.
The Rugeley native went out in 31, producing 4 birdies in his opening nine holes, with his only blemish of the day a bogey on the par 4 fourth hole.
Rock’s back nine holes were just incredible as he claimed 7 birdies, 6 of them in the final six holes, making the journey home in just 29 shots.
Rafa Cabrero Bello and Eddie Pepperell are next best on -12. The Spaniard posted seven under par for a three-round total of 198, while the Englishman’s five birdies on the last 6 holes leaves him on the same total.
Second round leader, Zander Lombard of South Africa, who had a two under par 68 on Saturday, had a costly double bogey on the fourth hole, and is next on the leaderboard at -11.
Bernd Wiesberger of Austria and England’s Andy Sullivan, who both closed with a birdie on the 18th, are a single shot further back following their 65 and 66 scores respectively.
Cormac Sharvin remain Ireland’s leading player at the tournament, having posted five birdies and a single bogey in his 66; he is in joint 7th place with Mike Lorenzo-Vero of France, who also had a 66 today.
“It’s just crazy” said the Co. Down golfer, “I hit the chip on 18 and said to my caddie, the hairs are standing on the back of my neck here. It was nice to putt on a bit of a show here today.”
Jon Rahm, bidding for his second Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in three years, and always a popular visitor to these shores, moved into contention as his -6 round, which included an eagle at the 18th, saw last year’s fourth-place finisher move to five shots off the pace.
“It was something that I needed today”, admitted Rahm, “I knew I needed to get close to maybe have a chance tomorrow.The main difference today to the last few days was putting. I was able to make a few more putts today and more than making the birdie putts, I was able to make the par putts to keep the score going.”
Waterford’s Robin Dawson, who received a late tournament invite only last Monday, shot a brilliant 64 (-6) to move to -7 for the tournament.
Birdies on five par fours as well as on the par five 12th hole saw Dawson add to his 68 and 71 from the first and second rounds respectively, giving him a three-round total of 203. par.
The relaxed 23-year-old said of his third round:
“It was a nice round of golf; it was lovely and calm there the first 12 holes and then rain started coming down, so took advantage of the first 12 holes are so. Just played pretty solid all day, just getting nice numbers and giving myself a lot of chances for birdie.
Shane Lowry’s par 70 round included 5 birdies, but also three bogeys and a double bogey when he took seven at the 12th hole. The Offaly golfer is now on -2.
Séamus Power shot 73 in a round where he never recovered from a seven at the par 4 2nd hole and he finds himself on -1, the same as Pádraig Harrington. The Dubliner equalled Friday’s 73, as he made just a single birdie, on the 18th, and admitted:
“Well, it’s nice to finish with a birdie, but yeah, I didn’t hole too many putts. It’s hard, it’s a tough enough day, you have to create momentum.”
Limited tickets are still available for Sunday with fans who intend travelling to the Co. Clare links advised to purchase online in advance.