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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Harrington only two shots off the lead at Royal Portrush

Wales’ Jamie Donaldson is at the top of the leaderboard going into Sunday’s final round.

Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Russell Pritchard

PADRAIG HARRINGTON REMAINS in contention to win his second Irish Open title at Royal Portrush, trailing leader Jamie Donaldsom by only two shots going into Sunday’s final round.

Harrington lies on ten-under par with England’s Mark Foster.

The 36-year-old Donaldson, winless in 244 European Tour starts, holds a one-shot lead over Anthony Wall, with Harrington and Foster a further stroke behind.

“I’m not exactly sure of the form of the guys in front of me, nor do I know their track records,” said Harrington.

“But I’ll be doing my thing and hoping I can keep my name up on that leader board and that brings pressure to bear.”

It was a disastrous third round for overnight leader Gregory Bourdy, whose 80 included a triple bogey on the par five 17th.

Rory McIlroy is six shots behind Donaldson after his one-under round of 71, while Michael Hoey was left to curse four bogeys on the back nine as he posted a 74. Hoey is one shot behind McIlroy.

After the end of the round, Harrington stressed the importance of playing in front of a home crowd.

“The upside of having a home crowd behind you is you’re getting carried along and you are winning the tournament,” he added.

“There is the downside that if you’re not playing well you feel disappointed, and you feel like you are letting people down.

“But having the crowd behind you can only be positive in terms of trying to win the tournament, no doubt about it.

“So I would say it’s worth 20 per cent, 25 per cent help on your performance. It’s significant.”

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