Fisher maintains Killarney lead

Ross Fisher maintained his three-shot lead at the 3 Irish Open despite a double bogey on the eighth undermining a strong front nine in his third round.

After his excellent 61 yesterday, the Englishman was three clear of Italian Francesco Molinari in Killarney.

He began well today, picking up four shots with birdies on the second, fourth, fifth and seventh holes.

However, a nightmare on the eighth saw him drop two shots, to two over for the day, which saw his lead cut.

His nearest challenger by mid-afternoon was fellow Englishman Chris Wood who, buoyed by a six-under 65 yesterday, bounced back from bogeying the fourth with a run of five birdies from the fifth to the ninth and another on the 13th to sit five under after 14.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano was alongside Woods at 11 under after a four-under 31 from his front nine.

Rory McIlroy was enduring a difficult afternoon, meanwhile.

He began well with successive opening birdies but a double bogey on the sixth undermined that strong start to leave him level par after six.

A birdie on the seventh was followed by bogeys on the eighth, 11th and 14th to leave him two over for the day and down to five under overall.

Earlier, Graeme McDowell had a steady morning’s work with a round of 68.

The US Open champion, following rounds of 70 and 72, birdied the second and seventh this morning without dropping any shots to reach the turn in 33 and, by picking up a further shot on the 18th, put himself three under overall.

Justin Rose’s topsy-turvy performance in Killarney continued with four birdies, four bogeys and a closing double-bogey on the 18th to finish with a two-over 73.

Rose bounced back from a three-over 74 on Thursday with a three-under 68 yesterday to reach the weekend.

He had three birdies but as many bogeys through his first 10 holes and that pattern continued with a bogeyed 11th and birdie on the 12th, before a double-bogey on the par-four 18th put him two over, both for the day and overall.

Fisher's lead was cut to two as he bogeyed the 15th to leave him one under for the day after 16, with Wood breathing down his neck from the clubhouse after a five-under 66.

Molinari, playing with Fisher, was alongside Wood on 11 under overall with two holes to play.

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