McDowell leads despite cold putter but Harrington punished for mistakes
Graeme McDowell. Picture © Getty Images

Graeme McDowell. Picture © Getty Images

Both had 32 putts but Graeme McDowell certainly felt a lot better than Pádraig Harrington as they chased very different goals nearly 8,000 miles apart.

While McDowell's putter went cold, he still shot a one under 71 in tricky conditions at Sheshan International Golf Club to take one stroke lead over Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata (68) into the final round of the WGC HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

McDowell is two clear of Germany’s Martin Kaymer (66) and American Bubba Watson (69) on 11 under par in his bid for a maiden World Golf Championship win.

But Harrington slipped to a four over 76 in the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Mississippi, slipping 47 spots to 59th after three-putting twice and taking three penalties in his third round.

The 43-year old, who is bidding to win back his full playing rights on the PGA Tour, is 13 strokes behind John Rollins who shot a 68 to lead by two strokes from William McGirt on 14 under par.

It wasn't just the three-putts that undid Harrington but also two balls in the water and three penalty drops in total as he mixed three birdies with five bogeys and a double bogey at the Country Club of Jackson.

McDowell had putted superbly to lead by three shots at halfway but felt he had hit the ball better on Saturday and lacked a little luck on the greens.

“I was generally happy with the way I hit the golf ball," McDowell said. "I didn't quite score as well as I did the last couple of days but I really gave myself some confidence from a ball‑striking point of view that I can get the job done tomorrow. 

"Conditions were more difficult, colder, and the overnight rain made the course play a little bit longer. I tried to just execute a conservative game plan when I could and try to rely on the putter. 

"I hit a lot of good putts today that didn't go in and that's probably the main difference between shooting one under and three or four under today.”

Shane Lowry will have to wait until next week's Turkish Airlines Open or the following week's DP World Tour Championship to move into the world's Top 50 and secure that Masters invitation.

The Clara man, 14th in the Race to Dubai, hit just nine greens in his two over 74 and lies tied for 51st in the 76-strong field on five over par.

As for Harrington, he wasn't sharp on and around the greens, and some wayward driving did the rest on another disappointing Saturday.

He three-putted the first from 18 feet, missing from around three and a half feet for par and the day didn't improve much after that.

Having birdied the par-five third from six feet, he bogeyed the par-three fourth after going long with his tee shot and then chipping through the green.

Forced to go into the par-five fifth from 197 yards after bunkering his tee shot, he hit his third to six feet but missed for birdie and then spurned a chance from five feet after a fine tee shot at the 200-yard seventh.

A bogey five inevitably followed at the eighth, where he three-putted again, knocking his 26 footer nearly five feet past the hole.

A birdie from 32 feet at the ninth saw him turn in just one over but he then dropped three shots in four holes early on the back nine as he chased birdies and made mistakes.

Two of them came at par-fives.

At the 11th, he found water with his second and could only pitch to 19 feet from less than 40 yards. 

He then double bogeyed the 409-yard 12th, hitting his 120 yard approach from the rough into the water before taking three to get down from 20 yards.

He hit back with a birdie from 13 feet at the par-three 13th but he then two putted the last five greens for pars.