Pádraig Harrington insisted he will continue to wait patiently for his day to come again after closing with a bogey for the third day running in the Turkish Airlines Open.
The Dubliner, 45, carded a two under par 69 to move up just one place to tied 40th on three under par at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort in Antalya.
He’s a hopeless 15 strokes behind runaway leader Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark, who bogeyed the last but still shot a three under 68 to extend his overnight lead to seven strokes on 18 under par — the biggest 54 hole lead on the European Tour this season.
Olesen is a shot clear of American David Lipsky (66), Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger (66), China’sHaotong Li, Italy’s Matteo Manassero (68) and England's David Horsey, who bogeyed the last for a 68.
“I played the same all day, got a few breaks,” said Harrington, who started birdie-birdie-par-birdie and followed bogeys at the 16th and second (his fifth and 10th) with birdies at the fourth and seventh before driving into water at the 10th and dropping a shot.
“The bogey there (on 10) was a little bit unlucky. The one on 16, I hit a decent tee shot it just drifted right into the bunker, plugged in there bit unlucky, and then on the second I hit a nice tee shot pitched up the slope and left me a difficult chi.
It could have come back down, didn’t, and bogeyed the last, hit it in the water off the tee. A par at the last I probably could have been happy with my day ...... hit a good putt, just didn’t come in.”
Harrington said earlier in the week that he played as well as he did to win in Portugal and he maintained that view after round three.
“Play the same every day, regardless, whether I was winning it or, just go out and play the same,” he said of his objectives. “Good things were happening in Portugal.
With just Sunday’s final round and the Nedbank Golf Challenge and DP World Tour Championship, Dubai to go, he’s not impatient for more success having just won his 15th European Tour title.
“Nine rounds to go before the Christmas holidays? I wasn’t thinking like that, but yes. Nine more of the same and we’ll see. I only had one (moment) last week.....stay patient and keep playing the way I’m doing it. Just wait for good things to happen.
“The putting is good. The chipping is good. Tee to green I am playing the same as in Portugal, maybe not quite as good with some of the wedge shots as I was in Portugal. I will go and hit a few more.”
As for his complaint earlier in the week that he needed to have a higher ball flight this week to contend, he explained that his elevates his ball flight through perception more than any technical change.
“I am trying to hit it higher on the range as I’m practising,” he said. “Look, when you practice in Ireland you end up hitting the golf ball low. It is just the nature of it. To get the ball to fly properly you can’t get it going up in the air.
“I would be better off with a higher spinier flight this week. But in Portugal you were better with the lower flight. How do I change it? It’s a perception change — what looks good to my eye. Purely that. Visual.
“I see a good shot a certain height, another person sees the ball slightly different. I see it slightly lower than other guys....whatever you think is a normal flight will become your normal flight. You have to get used to it. You might have to make it happen but once you get used to it you get used to it.
“In Augusta, it depends how firm they get the greens and how much wind there is. But I probably would be better off hitting it high because I can hit it low if I want to. I find it easier to go down than I do to go up."
If Olesen wins as expected, he will claim the biggest prize of his European Tour career to date and propel himself towards the top ten of the Race to Dubai Rankings, and into contention for a share of the US$5 million bonus pool on offer at the conclusion of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
Danny Willett’s hopes of reclaiming the lead in the Race to Dubai are all but over after a third-round 68 left him tied in 48th on two under.
The Masters champion needs to finish in the top five in Antalya to pass Henrik Stenson going into the Tour’s final two events.
“I thought I played really, really solid. I missed a few short putts there in the middle of the round. I had some great chances for birdie, but when I holed that one on 14, it was very important because I missed quite a few before that. So it was nice to see one rolling in and then making a few birdies in a row, it was very important.
“It's obviously difficult to try and keep making birdies after a day like yesterday. I thought I did very well mentally. I was very patient out there. I felt like I was playing some great golf, a lot of good iron shots. Obviously it's a shame to bogey 18, but I just lost a little bit of concentration on that tee shot. You get in trouble quickly here, so concentration is the key tomorrow. I have to be aggressive tomorrow – I have never had a seven shot lead so it does feel a bit weird but that is why it’s so important to be aggressive and see if I can make a few birdies. That's the key.”
“I don't think I could have shot any worse today, I played in control except for that last hole. It's a shame to finish a round off like this but all in all it was a good day, loads of chances. It feels like I didn't take advantage of the par fives all week, so if I can do that tomorrow, there's another good one in me.
“We'll see how it turns out at the end of the day obviously. He's definitely playing really well. I need to make a fast start and try to put the pressure on him. If I can do that, you never know.”
“I was playing to try and make as many birdies as I could. I think at one point we got kind of close but I could never really hit it close enough to have good opportunities in the back nine. I had a couple, I only made one and then the rest were 25-footers - one I left short and one was a good putt.
“But it's just hard to make 25-footers to try and catch up. I wouldn't say I was playing for second. I was trying to close the gap a little bit but I couldn't. Of course I could have done better today but I'm happy with where I'm standing and we'll see what happens tomorrow. Again, he's playing great, and if he keeps playing like this, obviously he 110 percent deserves to win this tournament.”
“It was a bit of a grind again to be honest with you. I didn't hit it in the fairway enough. But when I was in position, I hit some lovely iron shots. I felt like I putted pretty well. All in all, I'm pleased with the score considering how I played. Realistically, we are going to need something drastic to happen on his part for us to have a chance but you never know. I just need to go out there tomorrow and try and play a bit better and put a bit of pressure on him, start making a few birdies early; you never know.”
Round 3 scores:
195 T Olesen (Den) 65 62 68;
202 L Haotong (Chn) 66 68 68; M Manassero (Ita) 66 68 68; D Horsey (Eng) 67 67 68; B Wiesberger (Aut) 66 70 66; D Lipsky (USA) 67 69 66;
203 T Jaidee (Tha) 67 66 70; G Coetzee (RSA) 64 73 66;
204 D Drysdale (Sco) 67 68 69; A Otaegui (Esp) 70 63 71; P Larrazábal (Esp) 67 69 68; J Lagergren (Swe) 70 64 70;
205 J Wang (Kor) 67 70 68;
206 N Elvira (Esp) 70 67 69; T Hatton (Eng) 72 67 67; B An (Kor) 68 69 69; J Campillo (Esp) 66 69 71; J Walters (RSA) 68 70 68;
207 M Ilonen (Fin) 74 66 67; R Jacquelin (Fra) 69 69 69; F Aguilar (Chi) 67 72 68;
208 G Bourdy (Fra) 72 70 66; R Ramsay (Sco) 71 68 69; A Sullivan (Eng) 71 67 70; K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 72 67 69; A Johnston (Eng) 71 69 68; S Hend (Aus) 68 72 68; R Bland (Eng) 70 68 70; A Cañizares (Esp) 70 71 67; R Gouveia (Por) 70 68 70; R Rock (Eng) 69 68 71;
209 T Fleetwood (Eng) 71 71 67; N Colsaerts (Bel) 70 69 70; G Havret (Fra) 69 69 71; W Ashun (Chn) 70 70 69; R Paratore (Ita) 71 71 67; S Kjeldsen (Den) 69 72 68; J Morrison (Eng) 70 67 72; J Carlsson (Swe) 68 74 67;
210 Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 72 69 69; M Warren (Sco) 68 75 67; M Korhonen (Fin) 70 71 69; P Edberg (Swe) 72 69 69; L Slattery (Eng) 69 69 72; J Quesne (Fra) 68 71 71; D Fichardt (RSA) 70 73 67; P Lawrie (Sco) 69 70 71;
211 D Willett (Eng) 69 74 68; L Jensen (Den) 71 71 69; N Bertasio (Ita) 69 71 71; M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 70 71 70; R Karlsson (Swe) 70 68 73; M Southgate (Eng) 72 72 67;
212 R Wattel (Fra) 69 71 72; L Bjerregaard (Den) 67 74 71; B Stone (RSA) 73 68 71; S Chawrasia (Ind) 74 69 69;
213 C Paisley (Eng) 71 70 72; L Westwood (Eng) 70 70 73; V Dubuisson (Fra) 72 69 72; O Fisher (Eng) 73 70 70; R Sterne (RSA) 71 70 72; T Aiken (RSA) 71 75 67; A Levy (Fra) 72 74 67;
215 D Brooks (Eng) 71 72 72; M Carlsson (Swe) 70 74 71; M Kieffer (Ger) 73 73 69; N Holman (Aus) 75 71 69;
217 F Zanotti (Par) 70 74 73; A Lahiri (Ind) 72 71 74;
219 C Shinkwin (Eng) 71 72 76; J Van Zyl (RSA) 76 72 71; A Altuntas (am) (Tur) 74 71 74;
220 B Hebert (Fra) 70 72 78;
222 H Porteous (RSA) 72 76 74;
224 M Siem (Ger) 80 77 67;
229 M Guner (am) (Tur) 81 75 73;
234 L Acikalin (am) (Tur) 75 78 81