Saturday, 29 June 2013
Robert Rock  (Getty Images)
Robert Rock (Getty Images)
Robert Rock already has one "winner's" cheque from The Irish Open - but could claim another for real at Carton House this weekend.

Despite holding off Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to win the Abu Dhabi Championship last year, Rock's biggest payday remains the first prize of €500,000 he collected at Baltray in 2009, even though he lost out to Shane Lowry in a play-off.

Lowry was unable to claim it as he was still an amateur at the time, but both players were in contention for the title four years on as the third round progressed - Lowry begining the day just two shots behind leaders Rock and Peter Uihlein.

Uihlein, a former world number one amateur who won the Madeira Islands Open last month, made the ideal start with a birdie on the first from ten feet and missed a good chance for another on the second after an excellent approach from a fairway bunker.

But the 23 year old then ran up a double-bogey five on the third, fluffing a chip from an awkward lie just outside a bunker and then missing from two feet after an excellent second attempt.

Rock had been in the same fairway bunker on the second and saved par with two putts from just off the back of the green, while he also made par on the third from more sand.

A birdie on the fifth then took the 36 year old to ten under par and a share of the lead with Spain's Pablo Larrazábal, who had birdied the second, fourth, fifth and ninth - the latter after an approach to five feet - to be out in 32.

France's Raphaël Jacquelin, winner of the Open de España after a record-equalling nine-hole play-off, and Lyoness Open winner Joost Luiten were a shot behind, with Lowry another two strokes back after a birdie from three feet on the second was cancelled out by a bogey on the sixth.

Luiten, who followed his victory in Austria with a share of tenth place in Munich last week, birdied the ninth, tenth and 13th to move into the outright lead on 12 under par.

He was soon joined on that score by Larrazábal, who also birdied the driveable par four 13th and then pitched to four feet for another on the par five 15th.

Rock had fallen three off the lead after his tee shot on the 11th was unlucky to stick on the bank of a fairway bunker, from where he could only hack it 30 yards down the fairway and eventually card a bogey five.

England's Paul Casey, once ranked as high as third in the Official World Golf Ranking but now 169th after struggling for form and fitness, had set the clubhouse target on nine under thanks to birdies on the last two holes in a 67.
 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CASEY, PaulENG18-14
T2ROCK, RobertENG18-11
T2LUITEN, JoostNED18-11
4LARRAZÁBAL, PabloESP18-9
T5LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-8
T5SHAW, GarethNIR18-8

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