Fowler falters at Irish Open

World number nine Rickie Fowler failed to get off to the fast start he was looking for as he tried to follow his Players Championship victory with another in the Irish Open.

Fowler, who was part of the victorious United States team in the 2007 Walker Cup at Royal County Down, began the third round just three shots off the lead and hoping to take advantage of the more benign conditions.

But for the second day running the 26-year-old bogeyed the par-five opening hole and after failing to pick up any shots on the next three, suddenly found his deficit had doubled.

That was because Scotland's Richie Ramsay - one of the six overnight leaders - had holed from 12 feet on the first for an eagle to move to five-under-par, one shot ahead of playing partner Bernd Wiesberger, who birdied the same hole.

Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen and England's Chris Wood were also four-under after making birdies on the first, with Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello moving alongside them with a birdie on the third.

With the cut falling at five over par the entire field of those who survived the cut had been separated by just eight shots and the early starters took advantage of less wind than on the first two days, Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard carding seven birdies and two bogeys in a 66 to move to one under.

Fowler picked up his first birdie of the day on the seventh but still found himself six off the lead, despite Ramsay dropping a shot by missing from two feet for par on the fifth.

That was because Kjeldsen had holed from short range for birdie on the fifth and sixth to move to six under par and into a two-shot lead over Ramsay and Wiesberger.

Former world number one Luke Donald was two shots further back after also making a birdie on the seventh, but playing partner and 2007 winner Padraig Harrington followed his birdie there with a double bogey on the sixth to drop back to one-over.

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