Shane Lowry joined Padraig Harrington watching TV coverage of the Liverpool and Arsenal one-all draw and then headed to his Regnum Carya hotel bed promising a 64 on the final day of the Turkish Airlines Open.
Shane Lowry / Image from Getty Images
Hours earlier, Lowry produced his best score of the Rolex Series event in signing for a four-under par 67 that handed him an eight-under par tally on the stunning Belek course.
China’s Haotong Li is set to create further European Tour history after siezing a three-shot lead heading to the final round. Li, 23, eagled the 10th hole and managed six birdies in a blistering eight-under par 63 to move to 17-under on the Regnum Carya course while England’s defending champion, Justin Rose (69) and Frenchman Alex Levy (66) share second place on 14-under par.
Li commenced his round sharing fifth place and trailing three shots behind Rose but moved one stroke clear of the Turkish field with five birdies over his opening nine holes.
The Shanghai-born Li then stood in complete surprise, with both arms out-stretched, when his 8-iron second shot from 173-yards at the par-4 10th hole ran up off the back upward portion of the green and then rolled back down the slope and into the hole.
The current World No. 50 ranked Li, a management stablemate to Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar and Rose, then stretched his lead eventually to four strokes when he birdied the par-5 12th hole.
He said: “The eagle was the highlight of my day, for sure, and that was quite a special moment for myself.”
If Li wins in Turkey he will become the first China-born golfer to win twice in a season and join countryman Ashun Wu in capturing three European wins.
For Shane Lowry today’s round was a mix of four birdies in his opening 13 holes holes before ending bogey, par and birdie for his 67. The Clara golfer, and Race to Dubai No. 48, is now just the one round away from hopefully breaking into the Race to Dubai’s leading 30 before boarding the charter flight to South Africa for next week’s Nedbank Challenge.
“I played better today,” Lowry said. “My iron play has been lovely for the past three days. But off the tee the first few days I struggled big time and I really felt anxious out there on the tee.”
“Today was a lot better. I had a lot of left tee shots the first couple of days. There’s maybe four or five [tough tee shots], on 10, 11, 18 that if you negotiate those well you have the chance of a good round.”
“To now finish top-10 would be a great reward and what would be nice is something like a 64 because I feel there’s a low score in my bag and that would be good to take to South Africa.”
Paul Dunne had signed for a 64 on day one of the $7m event to snare the lead but has since slipped back with each round including day three in signing for 69 to drop to a share of 12th place on nine-under par.
“Conditions were perfect out there today and while there are low scores out there, you have to play well and putt well,” he said.
“Hopefully, there’s a good one there tomorrow if I can put the two of them together. I thought I played okay. I played very nicely at the start and hit a lot of good shots. Then I was a little bit ropey on holes nine, 10, 11 and then played nicely coming in. I didn’t make any putts really. I left three putts right in the middle just short and then missed a little one for par on 17. It could have been a lot better really.”
Dunne birdied his fifth, sixth and eighth holes to get to finally get to double figures at 10-under par for the event ahead of dropping a shot on 10, picking-up a birdie on 12 but dropping a shot at 17 where his drive was way left and then facing a high shot over trees and with his second clearing the trees but rolling off the putting surface on route to a bogey ‘5’
“It felt it better this morning,” he said. “I was hitting some shots with a glove under my right armpit and felt the club dropping down a bit better as opposed to it kind of going all over the place.”
“There are a lot of positives to take. I hit a lot of nice iron shots and good drives; a lot better than yesterday. I played today like I did the first day. I just didn’t make the putts or get the odd break where you hit a really nice shot and it goes to a foot instead of six feet and you miss it.
I was quite pleased as the score was average enough but how I played bodes well.”
Padraig Harrington got off to an indifferent start with three bogeys in his opening eight holes before brilliantly regaining all three shots in eagling the par-5 12th hole and then birding the 13th.
The eagle on 12 ensured Harrington is four-under for the three rounds on the 12th and he then pared his closing five holes to be sharing 28th place at seven-under par.