Irish produce late rally in Melbourne
 horbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen. Picture Getty Images

horbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen. Picture Getty Images

Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry produced a stirring late rally to surge into contention for a podium finish in the $8m ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf.

Ranked 16th overnight after adding foursomes 72 to a fourball 69 to trail Denmark by nine strokes, the Irish duo birdied four of the last eight holes at Kingston Heath for alternate shot 70.

While they remain nine behind the Dames, they've moved eight spots up the leaderboard and have a chance of finishing in the 

A 70 for Søren Kjeldsen and Thorbjørn Olesen, who shot a fourball 60 on Friday, leaves them four ahead of Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker (69) on 14 under par with Ireland just four shots behind third placed China.

Denmark extended their three-shot overnight advantage with five birdies and three bogeys to reach 14 under par as Walker and Fowler emerged as their nearest challengers.

Chasing Denmark’s first World Cup title, the Danes both finished in the top 20 in this season’s Race to Dubai, and both came into the tournament in excellent form, with Olesen having recently won the Turkish Airlines Open and Kjeldsen finishing in the top five at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

The Chinese pair Wu Ashun Li Haotong – both winners on the European Tour this year – were then third on nine under par, two shots clear of France, Japan and Spain.

Lowry and McDowell birdied the first, then appeared destined to bring up the rear in the event when they bogeyed the eighth, ninth and 10th to fall back to 20th on one under par.

But they dug deep and birdied the 11th, 12th, 13th and 17th to share eighth with Sweden’s Alex Noren and David Lingmerth and New Zealand’s Danny Lee and Ryan Fox on five under par.

Prize fund breakdown

Per Team / Individual

  1. $2,560,000  / $1,280,000
  2. $1,385,000 / $692,500
  3. $800,000 / $400,000
  4. $456,000 / $228,000
  5. $380,000 / $190,000
  6. $325,000 / $162,500
  7. $270,000 / $135,000
  8. $215,000 / $107,500
  9. $160,000 / $80,000
  10. $125,000 / $62,500
  11. $110,000 / $55,000
  12. $100,000 / $50,000
  13. $92,000 / $46,000
  14. $84,000 / $42,000
  15. $80,000 / $40,000
  16. $78,000 / $39,000
  17. $76,000 / $38,000
  18. $74,000 / $37,000
  19. $72,000 / $36,000
  20. $70,000 / $35,000
  21. $68,000 / $34,000
  22. $66,000 / $33,000
  23. $64,000 / $32,000
  24. $62,000 / $31,000
  25. $60,000 / $30,000
  26. $58,000 / $29,000
  27. $56,000 $28,000
  28. $54,000 /$27,000 

Key quotes

  1. Soren Kjeldsen

“You need to stay aggressive on this course, but you also need to be very careful. We won’t be protecting a lead, we still need to go out with the same mentality and make as many birdies as we can. We know what’s possible on this course, another 60 or even lower is out there tomorrow so we’ll have to go low again, because someone else probably will.”

Thorbjorn Olesen

“We didn’t make many mistakes out there, it was very steady stuff which is what you need in foursomes. It’s a very difficult format, because you may not hit a putt or an iron shot for four holes, then you might be left with a tricky putt for par. It would obviously mean a lot to win this tournament, we’ve come close a few times, especially when Thomas [Bjorn] and Soren [Hansen] lost in a play-off, so hopefully it’s our time.” 

Rickie Fowler

“We stuck to the same game plan. There’s no reason to push out there in alternate shot. There are some places where you can get yourself in some trouble pretty quickly if you hit it offline, so we were a little bit more conservative off the tee, just take a little bit of stress off the second shot. We had to get up and down a couple times, but you’re going to make bogeys, you're going to make mistakes in alternate shot, but the more you can keep moving forward and keep it simple, the better off you’ll be.” 

Romain Langasque

“It was a really good day. I didn’t play my best game and I hit some bad shots so Victor had some really tough chips, so that was tough on him. We were two over after three holes, so that was difficult. But we stayed patient and came back well, so I’m very happy with today’s score.”

Li Haotong

“Today was a Very good recovery, because we had horrible start. I hit so many bad shots today, but luckily my putting got much better as the round went on, which is one of the reasons why we shot even par. So we need to do some work, but we’re still in there with a chance.”

Third Round Scores

1 Søren KJELDSEN / Thorbjørn OLESEN DEN 72 60 70 202 -14

2 Rickie FOWLER / Jimmy WALKER USA 70 67 69 206 -10

3 WU Ashun / LI Haotong CHN 70 65 72 207 -9

4 Victor DUBUISSON / Romain LANGASQUE FRA 70 67 72 209 -7
Rafa CABRERA BELLO / Jon RAHM ESP 69 67 73 209 -7
Hideki MATSUYAMA / Ryo ISHIKAWA JPN 73 65 71 209 -7

7 Francesco MOLINARI / Matteo MANASSERO ITA 71 66 73 210 -6

8 Alex NOREN / David LINGMERTH SWE 72 66 73 211 -5
Shane LOWRY / Graeme MCDOWELL IRL 72 69 70 211 -5
Danny LEE / Ryan FOX NZL 75 64 72 211 -5

11 David HEARN / Adam HADWIN CAN 75 68 69 212 -4
Bernd WIESBERGER / Martin WIEGELE AUT 73 68 71 212 -4
Thomas PIETERS / Nicolas COLSAERTS BEL 73 69 70 212 -4
Adam SCOTT / Marc LEISHMAN AUS 74 68 70 212 -4

15 C.T. Pan / CHAN Shih-chang TPE 74 65 74 213 -3
Jaco VAN ZYL / George COETZEE RSA 76 66 71 213 -3

17 Chris WOOD / Andy SULLIVAN ENG 71 66 77 214 -2
Joost LUITEN / Darius VAN DRIEL NED 75 64 75 214 -2
Ricardo GOUVEIA / José-Filipe LIMA POR 74 68 72 214 -2

20 S.S.P CHAWRASIA / CHIKKARANGAPPA S IND 74 66 75 215 -1
Alex CEJKA / Stephan JAEGER GER 74 71 70 215 -1
Russell KNOX / Duncan STEWART SCO 78 65 72 215 -1

23 Thongchai JAIDEE / Kiradech APHIBARNRAT THA 73 66 77 216 0

24 Danny CHIA / Nicholas FUNG MAS 77 68 72 217 1

25 Jhonattan VEGAS / Julio VEGAS VEN 74 68 76 218 2

26 Byeong Hun AN / K.T. KIM KOR 74 69 76 219 3

27 Bradley DREDGE / Stuart MANLEY WAL 74 66 80 220 4

28 Miguel TABUENA / Angelo QUE PHI 77 67 77 221 5