Conditions change too late to help Irish

Kiawah Island finally loosened its grip on some of the world’s best players in the third round of the World Cup today.

Kiawah Island finally loosened its grip on some of the world’s best players in the third round of the World Cup today.

Strong winds sent scores soaring in the opening round and despite better conditions for Friday’s foursomes, the 23 teams were a collective 87 over par with a scoring average of just under 76.

There had been just one eagle in the first two rounds but with conditions much improved for the second set of fourballs on Saturday, the players were finally able to post plenty of birdies on the board.

For 1997 winners Ireland however, it came too late for them to have a chance of repeating their victory of six years ago.

Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley were seven over par at the halfway stage and despite Harrington opening with three birdies, a bogey on the fifth left them five over par and 11 shots off the lead.

England were still in with a chance of only their second ever World Cup victory and two birdies in the first three holes got them back to level par.

Justin Rose chipped in from just off the green on the first and after failing to take advantage of a massive drive down the par-five second, team-mate Paul Casey made amends with a birdie on the third.

Scotland, who had recorded that solitary eagle of the opening two days when Alastair Forysth holed from 40 yards on the second yesterday, were also off to a fast start with Forsyth picking up shots at the first three holes.

That got the 27-year-old from Paisley and team-mate Paul Lawrie back to three under par, the same position they were in before dropping shots at each of the last three holes in Friday’s foursomes.

It also took them ahead of Wales who opened with a par four to remain two under, now four shots off the lead held by South Africa’s Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini.

They led by two overnight from pre-tournament favourites the United States, represented by Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard, and extended that to three when Sabbatini birdied the first.

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