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irish open Cormac Sharvin to fly home flag as Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy struggle

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3 July 2021; Shane Lowry of Ireland during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship at Mount Juliet Golf Club in Thomastown, Kilkenny. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

3 July 2021; Shane Lowry of Ireland during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship at Mount Juliet Golf Club in Thomastown, Kilkenny. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

3 July 2021; Shane Lowry of Ireland during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship at Mount Juliet Golf Club in Thomastown, Kilkenny. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Cormac Sharvin will fly the flag for Irish golf in the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open after Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy went backwards on moving day at Mount Juliet.

The Ardglass star fired a three-under 69 in wet and windy early conditions to move up to tied 22nd on seven-under and keep alive his hopes of winning one of three spots in The Open.

Graeme McDowell battled back from three bogeys in his first three holes to card a two-under 70 that left him seven shots behind clubhouse leader Justin Harding on five-under.

But it was a day to forget for McIlroy and Lowry as they failed to shoot the rounds in the mid-sixties they needed to get back into contention.

McIlroy twice drove out of bounds and shot 73 to fall back to 50th on four-under with Lowry a shot further back after a lacklustre 74.
Both were caught out by the cool, wet conditions early in the day.

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THOMASTOWN, IRELAND - JULY 01:  Cormac Sharvin of Northern Ireland in action during Day One of The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Mount Juliet Golf Club on July 01, 2021 in Thomastown, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

THOMASTOWN, IRELAND - JULY 01: Cormac Sharvin of Northern Ireland in action during Day One of The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Mount Juliet Golf Club on July 01, 2021 in Thomastown, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

THOMASTOWN, IRELAND - JULY 01: Cormac Sharvin of Northern Ireland in action during Day One of The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Mount Juliet Golf Club on July 01, 2021 in Thomastown, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

McIlroy bogeyed the third and then double-bogeyed the fourth after losing his drive right and while he bounced back with birdies at the fifth, 10th, 11th and 13th he hooked his tee shot out of bounds at the 16th and ran up another double bogey.

“I got off to a rough start, bogeying three and doubling four and did well to claw myself back into it and made four birdies,” McIlroy said.

“And then, yeah, I just hit one out-of-bounds on 16, just two bad tee shots, one on 4 and one on 16 cost me four shots today.

“So that wasn't ideal but apart from that, the rest of the round was actually okay. Hit good putts but they just weren't going in. So just one of those days.”

Lowry also got off a nightmare start, running up a double-bogey as he came up short in the water at the par-three third before dropping another shot at the fourth.

He birdied the fifth but made no headway on the back nine, mixing birdies at the 15th and 17th with dropped shots at the 14th and 16th.

“It was just a struggle, bad start, hard when you go out trying to shoot a number and get off to that start,” Lowry said.

“Silly shot on the third and followed up with a bad bogey on four and then it's kind of from there, you're behind the black ball and you're chasing and things weren't going my way. I wasn't holing putts or hitting great shots. I was a bit in between.

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“Difficult day but sure, look, I'm going to have those. I'll have plenty of those again. Just have to hold my chin up now and move on. Not much more I can say about it.

“It just wasn't a great day. It was one of those where I tried my best, I gave it my all and it just wasn't good enough.”

Lowry was playing with South African Harding who holed out from 43 yards at the 17th for an eagle three, then drained a 25 footer for birdie at the 18th for a 65 to lead by a shot in the clubhouse on 12-under from Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg (67) and Italy’s Francesco Laporta (68).

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