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McDowell finds form at the death but Ilonen clings to Irish Open lead

Sheffield’s Danny Willet went Full Monty to smash the Fota Island course record.

Graeme McDowell breaks into a smile after a birdie putt finally drops on 16.
Graeme McDowell breaks into a smile after a birdie putt finally drops on 16.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

MIKO ILONEN REFUSES to go away and has finally made it into a headline on TheScore.ie. Of far greater import for the unflappable Finn, he leads the Irish Open by one stroke going into the final round.

Ilonen carded four birdies and two bogeys in a round of 69 and leads the way at Fota Island. He is on -12 and a shot clear of Sheffield’s Danny Willett, who broke Ilonen’s course record today. The Englishman went around in 63 shots to scream up the leaderboard and sit on his own at -11. Willet’s round included a hole-in-one on the par three seventh.

Graeme McDowell is third, on -10, after he birdied 16 and 17 to end a frustrating day on a high. McDowell’s Northern Irish compatriot Gareth Maybin signed off for a 69 and is tied eighth on -8.

Padraig Harrington double bogeyed the third to falter badly at the start of his round but birdied two of his closing three holes to get back to -6. John G Kelly [-3] and Peter Lawrie [-2] are the next best Irish competitors in the field.

Darren Clarke carded a +2 round of 73 while amateur Gary Murphy went around in 81 shots to fall back to +6. Murphy’s round was 15 shots worse than his brilliant 66 on Friday.

Irish Open leaderboard

  • Miko Ilonen -12
  • Danny Willet -11
  • Graeme McDowell -10
  • Fabrizio Zanotti, Matthew Baldwin, Kristoffer Broberg, Romain Wattel -9

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Patrick McCarry

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