Damien McGrane got up and down for par six times out of six in round three at Kennemer. Picture: David Lloyd / www.golffile.ieKells grinder Damien McGrane has twice finished second since his maiden European Tour win in the Volvo China Open more than five years ago.

But after posting an immaculate, three 67 - the only bogey freee round of the day - to move into a share of third place at KLM Open at Zandvoort, the 42-year old would love to take advantage of a rich vein of form and experience that winning feeling again.

Tied for third with Julien Quesne, just two shots behind pacesetter Joost Luiten of Holland, who carded a 66 to lead by a stroke from Miguel Angel Jimenez on 10 under par, McGrane defied strong winds and torrential rain to give himself a chance of his biggest ever pay-day.

“Yes, delighted,” McGrane beamed. “My short game was razor sharp today, which is what you need in tough conditions. There were very strong cross winds, but I managed to keep the bogeys off my card, which was a great achievement out there today.

“So I’m very content, because it was pretty brutal at times. You just needed to weather the storm, especially on the front nine. But I hit good shots when I needed to.

“I only enjoyed it because I was able to hang in there, and then managed to pick a couple of birdies off for good measure. So that turned a decent day into a very good one.

Damien McGrane in action at Kennemer on Friday Picture: David Lloyd / www.golffile.ie“You’re going to miss a lot of greens when the weather’s like that so it puts the emphasis on your chipping and putting, and luckily enough my short game was really on today.”

Just a few weeks ago, McGrane was looking for a result to secure his card. Now he’s looking for a win that would secure his place in the HSBC Champions and the season-ending finale in Dubai.

“Yeah, I’ve been showing reasonable form,” he said. “So hopefully I can covert that into a decent result tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”

He’s not the only Irishman with a chance of victory with Offaly’s Shane Lowry just five behind Luiten in joint ninth after a birdie at the last gave him a fine 68.

“I’m delighted with that score,” said Lowry, who made five birdies in the first seven holes, bogeyed 10th, 12th, 15th and 16th but then birdied the last.

“We probably got lucky with the draw, because for the first seven holes we didn’t have any rain. There was a bit of wind around but not much, and I managed to make five birdies.

“Standing on the eighth tee the wind switched direction and the rain came in, so it was time to batten down the hatches.

“I played the last 11 holes in three over, but in those conditions that wasn’t too bad a result really. I feel like I’ve given myself an outside chance tomorrow.”

Lowry’s opening stretch was especially pleasing but what made him even happier was the way he reacted to the inevitable bogeys.

“Yeah, I was cruising at that time,” he said. “But after that it got so tough, there was no way I was going to be able to maintain my momentum.

“If I made a bogey I didn’t get too down on myself, I just got on with it because I knew other people would also be dropping shots. The goal was not to making any double bogeys, and fortunately I managed to do that.

“I struggled in the right to left wind coming in, which was disappointing because that’s normally a wind I play well in. I didn’t drive the ball as well as I would’ve liked, but I can forgive myself because it was a real struggle out there.

“And the birdie on the last was a great finish, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully the weather’s a bit better!”

Luiten rewarded the home fans for braving some miserable conditions by claiming a narrow lead with a four-under-par 66 at Kennemer Golf Club to finish at 10 under par, one ahead of overnight leader Jimenez, who battled to a level-par 70.

Luiten bogeyed the opening hole but chipped in twice for birdie - on the sixth and 16th - and also holed from 40ft across the 17th green for another birdie to delight the large galleries.

Jimenez, already the oldest winner in European Tour history after his win in the Hong Kong Open aged 48 and 318 days last November, carded 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey in his round, but fellow overnight leader Pablo Larrazabal slumped to a 77.

Paul McGinley slipped to a three over 73 and joitn 28th on two under with Waterford Castle rookie Kevin Phelan the next best of the Irish, tied for 58th on two over after a 73

Playing in his first event as a professional, Phelan was two under par after six holes and level for his round with five to play when he ran up a triple bogey seven at the fifth, his 14th.

David Higgins (74) and Simon Thornton (75) are tied for 63rd on three over par.

Third round scores

200 J Luiten (Ned) 69 65 66,

201 M Jiménez (Esp) 64 67 70,

202 Damien McGrane (Irl) 65 70 67, J Quesne (Fra) 67 65 70,

203 O Fisher (Eng) 67 65 71, S Dyson (Eng) 69 63 71,

204 H Otto (RSA) 68 67 69, R Allenby (Aus) 65 71 68,

205 R Fisher (Eng) 69 68 68, Shane Lowry (Irl) 69 68 68, G Havret (Fra) 67 70 68,

206 M Carlsson (Swe) 68 69 69, R Bland (Eng) 67 71 68, M Ilonen (Fin) 71 66 69, O Floren (Swe) 66 73 67, D Fichardt (RSA) 70 68 68, W Ashun (Chn) 69 68 69,

207 A Quiros (Esp) 72 64 71, E Grillo (Arg) 72 66 69, P Waring (Eng) 70 68 69, P Casey (Eng) 68 71 68, M Nixon (Eng) 69 65 73, D Drysdale (Sco) 69 64 74, S Kjeldsen (Den) 68 67 72, A Snobeck (Fra) 68 66 73, D Horsey (Eng) 71 66 70, B Koepka (USA) 70 66 71,

208 E Kofstad (Nor) 69 66 73, S Wakefield (Eng) 68 67 73, P Larrazábal (Esp) 65 66 77, Paul McGinley (Irl) 68 67 73, M Jonzon (Swe) 70 65 73, R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 69 67 72,

209 W Besseling (Ned) 67 71 71, T Pieters (Bel) 68 70 71, R Green (Aus) 70 66 73, F Zanotti (Par) 65 73 71, M Foster (Eng) 68 70 71, R Karlberg (Swe) 70 67 72, B Åkesson (Swe) 71 67 71, C Paisley (Eng) 68 68 73, L Jensen (Den) 72 66 71, J Jin (Kor) 67 71 71, D Howell (Eng) 65 70 74,

210 A Marshall (Eng) 69 67 74, M Fraser (Aus) 67 71 72, A Levy (Fra) 73 65 72, G Orr (Sco) 65 70 75, T Aiken (RSA) 72 64 74, P Meesawat (Tha) 67 70 73, F Aguilar (Chi) 69 68 73, E De La Riva (Esp) 68 71 71,

211 R Finch (Eng) 69 69 73, S Henry (Sco) 69 69 73, P Hedblom (Swe) 71 66 74, S Jamieson (Sco) 69 68 74, R Caron (am) (Ned) 73 65 73,

212 T Fleetwood (Eng) 70 68 74, M Korhonen (Fin) 71 67 74, Kevin Phelan (Irl) 71 68 73, M Manassero (Ita) 70 68 74,

213 J Olazábal (Esp) 69 68 76, David Higgins (Irl) 72 67 74, Simon Thornton (Irl) 70 68 75, J Lagergren (Swe) 73 65 75, A Cañizares (Esp) 69 68 76, C Cévaër (Fra) 70 69 74, M Baldwin (Eng) 69 70 74, R Ramsay (Sco) 70 68 75, A Tadini (Ita) 72 67 74, J Campillo (Esp) 71 63 79,

214 R Coles (Eng) 69 70 75,

215 S Benson (Eng) 69 70 76, L Gagli (Ita) 70 69 76,

216 R Santos (Por) 70 69 77, M Delpodio (Ita) 68 71 77, R Rock (Eng) 69 69 78,

217 C Lloyd (Eng) 69 69 79