Shane Lowry had hoped to be gunning for glory in tomorrow's final round at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, writes Simon Lewis of the Irish Examiner.
Instead he will be looking for positives, and perhaps a top-10 finish, ahead of the European Tour's flagship event next week at Wentworth.
A three-over-par 75 at the K Club on Friday had got the 2009 champion into the weekend's play on the cutline at two-over, 10 behind the 36-hole co-leaders Marc Warren and Danny Willett. Lowry had been looking for a stellar early round in the best of Saturday's conditions to give the front runners something to think about.
Yet while he returned to under-par scoring with a 71, Lowry could not make an impression on the leaderboard and will start Sunday's final round off the pace at one-over par, with tournament host Rory McIlroy moving into top spot alongside Willett at eight-under early in their third rounds as Warren dropped two shots in his first five holes.
“I thought if I got to three-under today, five-under, you're not asking for that much,” Lowry said. “The conditions we had were fairly okay. A couple of tricky pins out there. So wasn't all that easy.
“But yeah, I mean, I definitely should have shot maybe one or two better today. But that's the way it is. See what the leaders do this afternoon.
“Even if I was within four or five of the lead going into tomorrow, I would have thought I'd have half a chance. I know there's a 64 or 65 out there for me.
“I just need to get out there and give myself a bit of confidence for next week. Not that far behind. I can still sneak a Top-10 out of this weekend. I can still get myself a good week out of this week. It's not over yet.”
A top-10 finish on Sunday would represent his best finish since a tie for fifth just up the road at Carton House in 2013 and provide a great springboard for the Esker Hills golfer heading to England for the BMW PGA Championship next week.
“I'm going to be out relatively early tomorrow. I'll get out there and try and shoot a good score.
“Bit of bad weather this afternoon, which I think is on its way - if I can go out and shoot a decent score, something in the 60s tomorrow and get myself going for Wentworth next week.”