Round up: Lough Erne positive on 2017; McGovern OK at Q-School; Lawrie the Qatar master
Lough Erne Golf Resort in Co Fermanagh

Lough Erne Golf Resort in Co Fermanagh

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open 

Paul Kelly reports in the Belfast News Letter on the reaction from Lough Erne to doubts as to whether or not it will host the 2017 Irish Open, as announced in 2014.

While irish Open promoter Antonia Beggs said at The K Club on Thursday that no definitive decision either way” had been taken on a venue for 2017, Lough Erne issued a bullish statement insisting they were confident the event will go ahead there next year.

Tourism NI were more cautious and conceded that a decision on the venue was under review.

In a statement, Lough Erne said: 

"The owners and management of Lough Erne Resort have been in frequent contact with the European Tour regarding this event and have received no notification of another venue hosting the 2017 Irish Open. Our team is very much looking forward to hosting the Irish Open at Lough Erne Resort.
“We are continually working in conjunction with the relevant agencies and with the full support of the First Minister in this regard and we have everything in place to deliver a world-class tournament for this part of Northern Ireland and the island as a whole.”

According to the News Letter, Tourism NI said: 

“Tourism NI has been in contact with Lough Erne Resort and the European Tour and is aware that the Irish Open strategy is under review, however no decision has been made.”

European Senior Tour - McGovern makes Senior Q-School Finals

Headfort's Brendan McGovern added a 72 to his opening 71 to come through Stage One Qualifying for his European Senior Tour card at Gramacho Golf Club in Portugal.
The Irish Region regular finished tied fourth at his venue on one under par, seven strokes behind winner Clark Dennis of the USA. Scores
McGovern now goes through to the Final Stage, which will be played on the Pinta Course at Pestana Golf Resort from Monday to Thursday next.
However, winning a card over 72 holes won't be easy with just five cards on offer.
A field of 60 will play 54 holes, after which only those players within eight shots of the fifth and final qualifying place will go forward to contest the final round. See entries
Paul Lawrie. Picture: Getty Images

Paul Lawrie. Picture: Getty Images

Qatar Masters - Lawrie on track for hat-trick

Scotland's Paul Lawrie will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, but he will have defending champion Branden Grace and Danish star Thorbjørn Olesen breathing down his neck as he seeks to become the event’s first three-time winner.

Lawrie, who won here in 1999 – the year he went on to win The Open Championship – and 2012, had to stay patient on a windy day at Doha Golf Club, notching 13 consecutive pars before he birdied the 14th.

A birdie four at the last put the gloss on a two under par 70, and at 13 under he leads by two from Grace, who birdied the final three holes for an impressive 68, and Olesen, who also had a fine finish in a 69.

Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello (71) and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (70) are another shot back at ten under par, but it was a day to forget for Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts, who was one stroke off the lead at the start of the round but dropped out of contention after a 77.

Paul Lawrie

“Conditions were tough as you can see by the scoring, so to not have a bogey is good, but it was a little bit frustrating for me. I hit a lot of good putts that didn't go in, but you look at the board and you can see that you're still doing well. So the frustration goes away pretty quickly and it’s nice to end the day with a good putt.
“It's nice to know that you've been there, done it before a couple times on a certain golf course. Every week we play, the job is to get yourself in contention with nine holes to play and hopefully I can do that on the front nine tomorrow.
“There are a lot of good players behind me. Branden Grace is obviously the defending champion, has won here before and is well up the World Rankings. So tomorrow is going to be a different challenge but I’m looking forward to it.”

Branden Grace

“It was a brutal day out there. The wind was blowing and the greens were tricky. In conditions like that, it's tough to give yourself chances. I think patience was the name of the game. I got the most out of my round today. I don't really think I left any out there, so four under was a great score.
“I've not successfully defended a title yet, not a lot of people have done it, so it would be great. I'm just pleased with the golf I'm playing and I'm giving myself a shot at retaining the trophy. I'm playing some good golf and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”

Thorbjørn Olesen

“I played great for the last nine holes and gave myself so many chances. I was struggling a little bit on the front nine but still keeping it in play. So it was nice to finish with a birdie. I had a good chance on 16 for eagle but it was nice to have a couple of birdies on the last three. It's great to be in the final group in your second tournament (of the year). It's getting cold and it's very windy. I'm pleased with the way I hit the ball." 

Tommy Fleetwood

“It was tough but you've just got to get on with it. I had my ball a bit more under control than I did yesterday and I’m happy with my finish. You never know what's going to be a good score, so I just had to keep going. Then you've always got those last few holes when you play downwind, and I made the most of them.
“It's been a long time since I've been in the heat of battle, and I love it. This is what I want to do, but there's not much that can change. If the weather stays the same, you can't attack and you can't back off. You've really just got to plod on and keep your head down - it's a funny way of playing. Par is generally good today."

Rafa Cabrera-Bello

“It's been a tough day. I made some early mistakes and have been fighting to get myself back to par all day, and it was nice to get a birdie there and be able to shoot under par. I had the toughest shot in golf - a 50-yard bunker shot. I played it well and left myself a chance and rolled the putt in. I've played well here before and I'm playing well at the moment. I'm confident in my game, so let's go at it tomorrow.”

Round 3 scores

203 P Lawrie (Sco) 67 66 70, 

205 B Grace (RSA) 70 67 68, T Olesen (Den) 67 69 69, 

206 T Fleetwood (Eng) 67 69 70, R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 67 68 71, 

207 A Johnston (Eng) 66 69 72, L Slattery (Eng) 69 69 69, P Edberg (Swe) 70 66 71, G Bourdy (Fra) 67 68 72, 

208 B Dredge (Wal) 71 67 70, R Bland (Eng) 72 69 67, B Wiesberger (Aut) 68 70 70, G Havret (Fra) 71 67 70, R Gouveia (Por) 67 71 70, J Carlsson (Swe) 69 67 72, 

209 R Rock (Eng) 68 70 71, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 65 73 71, P Larrazábal (Esp) 65 72 72, 

210 E Els (RSA) 68 70 72, M Ilonen (Fin) 71 68 71, S Garcia (Esp) 70 66 74, J Campillo (Esp) 69 68 73, T Hatton (Eng) 71 70 69, G Coetzee (RSA) 67 70 73, 

211 T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 72 70 69, T Jaidee (Tha) 68 72 71, R Ramsay (Sco) 71 69 71, N Colsaerts (Bel) 66 68 77, K Broberg (Swe) 67 70 74, J Luiten (Ned) 70 67 74, 

212 P Meesawat (Tha) 72 67 73, R Paratore (Ita) 75 66 71, B Hebert (Fra) 71 70 71, S Benson (Eng) 74 67 71, R Kakko (Fin) 69 71 72, C Shinkwin (Eng) 68 74 70, 

213 N Holman (Aus) 70 71 72, M Kieffer (Ger) 69 68 76, A Noren (Swe) 69 69 75, B Åkesson (Swe) 66 73 74, J Morrison (Eng) 70 70 73, R Karlsson (Swe) 73 67 73, A Cañizares (Esp) 73 67 73, G Stal (Fra) 74 68 71, J Cheng (am) (Chn) 72 70 71, 

214 S Kjeldsen (Den) 70 69 75, A Dodt (Aus) 72 71 71, T Pieters (Bel) 75 68 71, M Warren (Sco) 73 68 73, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 69 73 72, J Fahrbring (Swe) 69 68 77, B Evans (Eng) 69 71 74, 

215 R Davies (Wal) 69 73 73, B Rumford (Aus) 68 69 78, J Lagergren (Swe) 72 68 75, O Wilson (Eng) 72 69 74, B Stone (RSA) 72 68 75, M Siem (Ger) 69 71 75, M Korhonen (Fin) 72 68 75, L Bjerregaard (Den) 68 70 77, H Porteous (RSA) 71 71 73, 

216 S Jamieson (Sco) 73 70 73, P Hanson (Swe) 74 67 75, M Fraser (Aus) 69 72 75, W Ashun (Chn) 73 70 73, C Lutton (Sco) 68 72 76, J Hansen (Den) 71 72 73, 

217 T Immelman (RSA) 68 74 75, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 72 71 74, T Bjørn (Den) 69 72 76, B Dechambeau (am) (USA) 73 70 74, 

219 N Fasth (Swe) 71 71 77, D Lipsky (USA) 71 72 76, A Quiros (Esp) 70 73 76