Manassero bid fades as McDowell picks up two shots

Manassero bid fades as McDowell picks up two shots

Italian teenager Matteo Manassero had to settle for third-round 68, the same score as Graeme McDowell, at the 3 Irish Open in Killarney having earlier torn through the front nine in a five-under-par 30.

The 17-year-old produced three birdies in the first six holes this morning to fire himself up the leaderboard.

Manassero began the day at level par having recorded rounds of one-over and one-under respectively in the opening two rounds on the par-71 course. However, birdies on the second, fourth and sixth holes represented a superb start to the weekend for the Verona youngster.

His hot streak continued as he moved five under with successive birdies on the eighth and ninth. That saw him reach the turn in 30, fuelling hopes of achieving what overnight leader Ross Fisher failed to do yesterday and scoring a 59 for the first time on the European Tour.

However, he had to make do with parring the first five holes on the back nine before a bogey on the 15th further undermined his earlier good work. Another dropped shot on the 18th represented a disappointing finish to an otherwise creditable three-under-par round of 68.

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, out at 1.15pm today, leads by three shots after his excellent 61 yesterday, with Italian Francesco Molinari second and two shots clear of a group containing Rory McIlroy.

Michael Hoey and Padraig Harrington are due out on course just before 1pm on seven under.

Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke on six under tee-off are playing the first while Damien McGrane is five under after 1.

Defending champion Shane Lowry lies on three under after four.

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