Erik van Rooyen made a fast start to open up a two-shot lead on day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
After glorious conditions on days one and two as Ballyliffin Golf Club made its Irish Open debut, wind and rain greeted the later starters on moving day at the fourth Rolex Series event of the season.
That did not affect South African Van Rooyen, however, who made a birdie-birdie start to get to ten under and sit two ahead of fellow overnight leaders Ryan Fox and Matthieu Pavon after three holes.
Swede Joakim Lagergren was then at seven under, one ahead of clubhouse leaders Jon Rahm and Andy Sullivan, and South African Zander Lombard.
Englishman Sullivan has made all 14 of his cuts this season with four top tens in his last six events but he was still a long way back after 15 holes, despite making birdies on the second, sixth, 11th and 13th to move away from the cut-line.
A hat trick of gains to finish then catapulted him to two off the lead after a course-record equalling 65.
Defending champion Rahm was in need of a rapid start from seven shots back and he got one, birdieing the first, third, fourth and fifth. A bogey on the seventh threatened to derail his progress but he bounced back with two birdies to turn in 30 and join Sullivan at six under.
Van Rooyen finished with two birdies on Friday and he maintained that momentum, hitting a wonderful drive to set up an opening gain and hit the front on his own.
The 28 year old then got a favourable bounce on the next and took full advantage, stiffing an approach to move to double figures and lead by two.
Nine straight pars on the back nine saw Rahm sign for a 67 and the Spaniard was left to see whether the conditions would help bring the leaders back to him as the afternoon progressed.
Fox, Pavon and Lagergren all began their rounds with three straight pars.
Lombard was also level par for the day after four holes, a shot ahead of English pair Lee Westwood and Danny Willett, and Spaniard Jorge Campillo.
|T4||VAN ROOYEN, Erik||RSA||18||-12|