Irish Open: Aaron Rai one ahead in bid for second European Tour win
Watch the final round live on Sunday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Golf
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 27/09/20 7:55pm
Aaron Rai holds a one-shot lead over Maverick Antcliff heading into the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
Rai mixed five birdies with three bogeys on his way to a three-under 67 at Galgorm Castle, taking him to eight under and with a narrow advantage over his playing partner and 36-hole co-leader.
Jazz Janewattanond - the highest-ranked player left in the field after Shane Lowry's missed cut - sits two strokes back in tied-third with Dean Burmester and Sweden's Oscar Lengden, with Toby Tree a further shot off the pace alongside Lucas Herbert.
"I was pleased with the round overall," Rai said. "The course doesn't play easy, even in easy conditions today, and it's always a little different going out in the final group and being co-leader. It was nice to be able to play with that and to play relatively freely and play solid today."
Antcliff was one of 27 players returning early to complete their second rounds, following weather delays on Friday, where the Australian posted birdies at the 11th and 13th before cancelling out back-to-back bogeys from the 14th by eagling the par-five last.
The world No 297 briefly moved into the outright advantage by holing a long-range birdie from the fringe at the first hole of his third round, where Rai dropped a shot, with Antcliff bogeying the next and then matching Rai's gain at the third.
Rai followed a birdie at the sixth by holing a 20-footer at the next, while Antcliff bogeyed the sixth but moved back alongside the Englishman with back-to-back birdies around the turn.
After bogeying the 11th, Rai rolled in from 15 feet at the par-three next and rattled the flag with his approach into the 15th on his way to another birdie, as Antcliff struck his tee shot to tap-in range at the 14th but lost his share of the lead with a bogey at the 16th.
Rai closed out his round with back-to-back pars, as Antcliff got up and down from off the 17th green and holed a clutch putt to save par at the last and ensure he would be in the final group again on Sunday.
Janewattanond briefly held a share of the lead after playing his ten holes in five under, before responding to back-to-back blemishes from the 16t by picking up a shot at the par-five last, with Lengden matching his total and also staying within two of the lead after his birdie-birdie finish.
Rikard Karlberg is in the group on three under after carding a round-of-the-day 65, while Robert Rock - who was within a shot of the halfway - slipped out of contention despite finishing his third-round 78 with back-to-back birdies.
Who will win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open? Watch the final round live on Sunday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Golf.
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