Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy are hoping that home advantage will help them chase down big-htting Ross Fisher in the 3 Irish Open.

The sensational Englishman let the European Tour’s first ever 59 slip off the hook at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club.

But he still netted a career-best, 10 under par 61 to storm three shots clear of Italy’s Francesco Molinari on 12 under par.

Irish challengers Harrington, McIlroy and Michael Hoey are only five behind in a massive, nine-man tie for third place.

After a superb 67, Harrington said: “Fair play to Ross.  He really has put some numbers together today. But there’s still a lot to be played for.  I just need to play well on the weekend.”

McIlroy, who fired a second round 68, reckons a fast start is key to putting Fisher under pressure and he called on the home fans to get right behind the Irish challengers.

McIlroy roared: “Every time we come home to the Irish Open, the support we get is fantastic.  We’ll all need as much of it as we can for the next two days to try and lift the trophy.”

Nine of the 27 Irish contenders made the cut with Paul McGinley (68) and Darren Clarke (70) just six off the pace on six under.

Damien McGrane’s 72 leaves him seven behind on five under with defending champion Shane Lowry a further shot back after following a nervous 74 with a brilliant 65.

US Open champion Graeme McDowell shot 72 and Warrenpoint’s Barrie Trainor a 73 to make the level par cut on the mark.

Third round tee times
07.45 Trainor
07.54 Donaldson, Manassero
08.03 Rose, Wall
08.12 Martin, Gallacher
08.21 Finch, McDowell
08.30 Coles, Quesne
08.39 Henningsson, Kulacz
08.48 Baker, Bebb
08.57 Brier, Erlandsson
09.11 Colsaerts, Canete
09.20 Havret, Waring
09.29 McEvoy, Derksen
09.38 O’Malley, Lafeber
09.47 Lundberg, Storm
09.56 Wiegele, Bland
10.05 Gonnet, Archer
10.14 Khan, Warren
10.23 Johansen, Brown
10.32 Lee, Haastrup
10.46 Broadhurst, Dodt
10.55 Whiteford, Luiten
11.04 Ramsay, O’Hara
11.13 Forsyth, Foster
11.22 Lowry, Cañizares
11.31 Howell, Hutsby
11.40 Lawrie, Khan
11.49 Sjoland, Drysdale
12.03 McGrane, Haig
12.12 Siem, Edfors
12.21 Clarke, McGinley
12.30 Wood, McIlroy
12.39 Green, Dixon
12.48 Hoey, Rumford
12.57 Castano, Harrington
13.06 Noh, Hansen
13.15 Molinari, Fisher