Green on top at Irish Open

Australia's Richard Green plays the green well at the Irish Open sharing lead with English duo going into final round.

    With a reputation as a good finisher, Green will be one of the favourites going into the final day [GALLO/GETTY] 

    Richard Green goes into the final round of the Irish Open in a three-way tie with English duo David Howell and Simon Dyson at the top of the leaderboard.

    Australian Green, ranked 82nd in the world, shot a four under par 67 to move to 11 under for the tournament and that was enough to draw level with Howell and Dyson at the close of Saturday's third round.

    The 40-year-old left-hander is chasing his fourth career title and his first since last year's Portugal Masters and he looks in good enough form to lift the trophy.

    Green, who finished 16th at the recent British Open, had three birdies in the front nine and then finished strongly with two more birdies in the last four holes after dropping a shot at the 12th.

    However, he faces stiff competition from Howell, who carded an impressive seven under par round of 64.

    Green said: "I have a bit of a reputation of firing it up in the last round, so hopefully it happens tomorrow (Sunday)."

    Back to best

    Howell showed tremendous composure as he ignored the heavy rain and strong winds to make it five birdies in six holes on the back nine.

    The 36-year-old reached ninth in the world after he beat Tiger Woods head-to-head in China and then had a runaway victory in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2006.

    But after winning a second Ryder Cup cap later that season his career went into freefall and he is now ranked 282nd.

    "I'm flying now. I must be one of the hottest players in the world," he said.

    "I've not been in the best of form, but there were no nerves and I think I was inspired by the atmosphere. The crowds were amazing."

    Dyson also looks strong and he recorded a 67 thanks to four birdies in the front nine to follow his second round 65.

    Dyson is one of two Englishmen at the top of the leaderboard at the Irish Open [GALLO/GETTY]

    Scotland's Stephen Gallacher matched that score to move into fourth place, two shots behind, but halfway leader Marcel Siem double-bogeyed the 18th for a 73 and was joint fifth with defending champion Ross Fisher and Dane Soren Hansen.

    Meanwhile, US Open champion Rory McIlroy looks to have slipped out of contention after carding a 72, his worst round of the tournament, which left him only three under for the tournament.

    McIlroy's challenge suffered a serious blow when he double-bogeyed the opening hole.

    The 377-yard first hole runs alongside Lough Leane, and after his tee shot finished on the beach in amongst stones, McIlroy advanced his ball only about 20 yards.

    His third only just made it onto the front of the green and from there he three-putted for a six.

    That poor start seemed to shake McIlroy's confidence. He dropped another shot on the short third and was never able to recover.

    McIlroy said: "It was not a great start but one over is not too bad considering how I played at the start."

    Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, who turned 32nd on Saturday, is unlikely to enjoy a memorable birthday weekend as he finished with 72, leaving him level with McIlroy on three under par.

    2010 US Open winner McDowell started with a birdie putt of nearly 20 feet to reach five under, but he three-putted for a double-bogey five two holes later.



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