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The third round of the Men’s Individual Stroke Play was played on Saturday morning, with Team Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry continuing their run of good form to keep in contention at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Tokyo.
With a round of 68 for Lowry, he moves to 10-under and into a tie for 9th while McIlroy sits 1 shot further ahead on 11-under after a round of 67.
Playing alongside each other, the pair both started the day on 7-under par and McIlroy admits it was a great way to stay relaxed.
“I was sort of trying to keep pace with him on the front 9, he got off to a great start,” explained McIlroy.
“Then it sort of felt like he was trying to keep pace with me on the back, he got unlucky on 14 with the ball getting stuck up the tree. It was really good to play with him, we fed off each other, we kept it really relaxed out there like it’s been all week.
“It would have been great to get to play with one another again tomorrow but it looks like we’re probably going to be a group apart, but it was good fun and I think it was good for both of us to keep us relaxed.”
Despite playing as individuals and not necessarily as a team, both players were keen to support one another and cheer each other on.
Lowry noted that although they are playing against each other, he wants to see two Irish flags on the first page of the leaderboard.
McIlroy sits just three shots off the lead which is held by Xander Schauffele of the United States on 14-under par – his plan for tomorrow’s final round is simple.
“Give it my all. It’s the last opportunity to do this for another three years – usually, it’s four – so it’s just to go out there and give it my all. Leave it all out there and hopefully, it’s enough.”
Lowry too, although slightly further back, is just three shots short of a bronze medal place and feels he has even better golf in him still.
Lowry has made 15 birdies across the first three rounds of the Olympic tournament and limited the number of bogeys to five.
The Offaly golfer does not feel like he’s playing at his best but added that he senses that that he can get a low score tomorrow.
“I know I shot a good score yesterday but I feel like I have a low score in me out there and wouldn’t it be a great day for it to happen tomorrow?,” the Irishman said.
“I’m looking forward to it, I hope I can play my best golf tomorrow. If I do, I do, and if I don’t then I don’t – but one thing’s for certain I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Lowry held a significant 25ft putt on the 18th green to save par, in his mind, it could be an important one come tomorrow afternoon.
“I was very happy with that putt on the last, I feel like that was huge for me, it would have made my evening a little more disappointing than it is if I had missed. Three-under is not the greatest score out there, but it’s still decent and I’ve got a chance to do something very special tomorrow and I’m excited about it.”
To see the two golfers’ tee times for the final round, click here.