Erik van Rooyen seizes control with Irish Open masterclass at Ballyliffin

Heather Diaz
July 11, 2018

McIlroy has been tournament host of the Irish Open for the last four years, during which time it has become part of the lucrative Rolex Series and seen the prize fund surge to £5.3m ($7m).

"I was surprised, the bookies don't normally get it wrong, but to put me out there at 66-1 on a links golf course was odd on their part, at home in my home country".

"I feel like I've made some improvements over the last couple of days on that and at least I know I'm trending in the right direction heading into the Open Championship".

"The more I can be just a little bit open with my lower body, I can see it a little bit better".

Van Rooyen threatened to run away with the title during the first half of his third round, carding six birdies in an imperious display over the handsome links of Ballyliffin Golf Club in County Donegal.

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"My mum is Swedish and she'll be at home cheering them on, so I really am going to be caught up in it", Willett said following his 70 at Ballyliffin.

Rahm sank four birdies in his first five holes, and after dropping a shot at the seventh, roared back with further gains on the next two holes. "Simple as that. If I had 100 putts every week I played and hit the ball halfway decent, I'd win every week".

Sharing second place are New Zealand's Ryan Fox and Sweden's Joakim Lagergren. I wish I could have birdied the two par fives but looking back, all in all, I think it was a good day. There's scores out there, I just didn't do it today.

But the third round belonged to one man and one man only, with Van Rooyen now set to take that four shot lead into final round as the 28-year-old chases his maiden European Tour victory in just his 34th appearance.

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