Erik van Rooyen takes charge at Irish Open

Erik van Rooyen earned a four stroke lead over Joakim Lagergren and Ryan Fox, shooting 66 in the third round of the Irish Open

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Erik van Rooyen takes a comfortable lead at the Irish Open

European Tour Release – 08 July 2018: A stunning front nine of six under par 29 saw South African Erik Van Rooyen take control of the Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation, the big South African establishing a four-shot lead heading into the final round of the fourth Rolex Series event of the European Tour’s 2018 Race to Dubai.

Van Rooyen threatened to run away with the title during the first half of his third round, carding six birdies in an imperious display over the beautiful links of Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal.

He followed that brilliant start with nine straight pars on the back nine to allow New Zealander Ryan Fox, Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren, Englishman Danny Willett and Scotland’s Russell Knox retain some hope of catching him and dethroning the reigning champion Jon Rahm.

Lagergren and Fox posted respective third round scores of 69 and 70 to move into a tie for second place on ten under, while 2016 Masters Champion Willett made five birdies on the back nine to post a 69 haul himself back into contention on nine under.

Knox carded 68 to lie one stroke behind Willett and one clear of Englishman Lee Westwood and the French duo of Raphaël Jacquelin and Matthieu Pavon.

But the third round belonged to one man and one man only, with Van Rooyen now set to take that four shot lead into final round as the 28 year old chases his maiden European Tour victory in just his 34thappearance.

Player Quotes

Erik Van Rooyen

“I wasn’t very much aware of my score or the situation on the front nine to be honest. You sometimes get in a groove as a golfer where things just happen and you hit great shots and great putts and that’s what happened. It wasn’t different on the back nine. It’s just different holes, different conditions, different everything. I still played great. Wish I could birdie the two par 5s but I didn’t. Looking back, all in all, I think it was a good day. There’s 18 holes left to navigate and that’s going to be my job tomorrow. Obviously I would love to get a win. But you know, that’s 24 hours from now so we will see what happens.”

Joakim Lagergren

“I think the conditions stayed great all day. I played well on the back nine, as well, but feels like I left a lot of shots out there. Didn’t hole the putts. It should have been a few better, I think but I’m still hitting the ball well. I need to produce more of the same stuff tomorrow and just hole a few more putts. I know I’ve got a low one in there.”

Ryan Fox

“It was a little bit of a frustrating today to be honest. I felt like I drove it really, really well. Gave myself a lot of chances and the putts didn’t drop. I had a couple poor wedge shots, as well, which didn’t help things but use that word, patience. I stayed pretty patient and made a couple of birdies coming in to turn it round. Erik looked like he was going to run away with it after that front nine, and I was scrapping around that front nine a little bit. Probably happy that maybe he got a bit colder on the back nine and I picked up a couple of shots just to give me a chance. Going to have to do something pretty special tomorrow to win this thing I think.”

Danny Willett

“The weather was a little bit different to what we’ve kind of had all week and a couple of poor swings early on. But then yeah, I dug in nicely, which was been nice. Turned it around quickly to have a good back nine. A couple of the long-range putts were obviously bonuses. It was nice to see a couple of those go in. Just keep the momentum going, especially when you look at the leaderboard and obviously after a few holes, we were a hell of a long way back. There’s still a lot to play for. When you’ve got such a big lead, it’s a tricky place to be. So yeah, just have to wait and see.”

Scores:

202 E Van Rooyen (RSA) 71 65 66,
206 J Lagergren (Swe) 69 68 69, R Fox (Nzl) 67 69 70,
207 D Willett (Eng) 68 70 69,
208 R Knox (Sco) 71 69 68,
209 L Westwood (Eng) 68 71 70, M Pavon (Fra) 68 68 73, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 70 68,
210 A Sullivan (Eng) 73 72 65, P Uihlein (USA) 70 70 70, Z Lombard (RSA) 70 68 72, J Rahm (Esp) 74 69 67, J Campillo (Esp) 70 71 69,
211 T Olesen (Den) 72 69 70, G Coetzee (RSA) 71 71 69, D Frittelli (RSA) 69 74 68,
212 S Horsfield (Eng) 69 69 74,
213 A Saddier (Fra) 68 76 69, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 72 68 73, O Fisher (Eng) 74 68 71, Y Miyazato (Jpn) 69 72 72, A Björk (Swe) 69 73 71, M Ilonen (Fin) 70 72 71, D Burmester (RSA) 71 70 72,
214 R Sterne (RSA) 75 68 71, N Colsaerts (Bel) 72 70 72, A Chesters (Eng) 68 73 73, R Rock (Eng) 68 77 69, T Jaidee (Tha) 73 70 71, D Fichardt (RSA) 72 72 70, G Fernandez – Castaño (Esp) 71 71 72, M Nixon (Eng) 72 69 73,
215 J Suri (USA) 76 67 72, B Stone (RSA) 74 70 71, B Hebert (Fra) 72 73 70, C Wood (Eng) 70 71 74, A Rai (Eng) 72 71 72, D Horsey (Eng) 74 69 72, R McIlroy (Nir) 70 73 72, D Drysdale (Sco) 76 69 70,
216 J Wang (Kor) 74 70 72, C Ford (Eng) 73 72 71, T Aiken (RSA) 71 73 72, M Southgate (Eng) 72 71 73, M Warren (Sco) 70 74 72, S Kjeldsen (Den) 70 73 73, S Thornton (Irl) 72 70 74, A Bland (Aus) 76 69 71, S Lowry (Irl) 72 70 74, P Hanson (Swe) 71 73 72,
217 R Paratore (Ita) 75 67 75, H Porteous (RSA) 73 71 73, J Morrison (Eng) 73 70 74, S Jamieson (Sco) 69 74 74, G McDowell (Nir) 71 73 73, A Otaegui (Esp) 69 74 74, P Dunne (Irl) 73 72 72, F Aguilar (Chi) 72 71 74,
218 P Larrazábal (Esp) 74 71 73, T Bjørn (Den) 73 71 74, T Pieters (Bel) 73 72 73, R Ramsay (Sco) 70 74 74,
219 P Waring (Eng) 71 71 77, R Wattel (Fra) 72 72 75, J Guerrier (Fra) 76 69 74, N Elvira (Esp) 69 74 76, R Gouveia (Por) 73 71 75, A Dodt (Aus) 74 71 74, W Ormsby (Aus) 70 73 76,
220 M Manassero (Ita) 72 72 76, J Dantorp (Swe) 72 71 77, B Dredge (Wal) 72 73 75, D Brooks (Eng) 74 71 75, G Bourdy (Fra) 71 73 76,
221 J Choi (Kor) 69 74 78,
223 A Romero (Arg) 70 75 78,

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