Lowry and Harrington seek Turkish delight; Dunne lurking five back
Shane Lowry in action in the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort

Shane Lowry in action in the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort

Shane Lowry might share a two-shot lead with Kiradech Aphibarnrat, but with the top 18 on the leaderboard covered by just five shots, the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open could provide as many thrills and spills as an Aintree Grand National.

In such a race, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on the thoroughbreds and the form horses and with major winners Justin Rose and Pádraig Harrington shooting 64s to share third spot with halfway leader Nicolas Colsaerts (73), it will be fascinating to see who's on the bridle heading down the home stretch on Sunday.

Lowry (65) and Aphibarnrat (66) haven't won for more than two years, and you have to go back five years for Colsaerts' last victory, which came at the expense of Graeme McDowell in the 2012 Volvo World Matchplay in Spain.

Four clear overnight, the Belgian was five shots ahead on 16-under through the turn, then blamed a mud ball for a costly visit to water that led to a double bogey at the 11th before bogey sixes at the par-five 12th and 15th, coupled with a hat-trick of Lowry birdies, left him playing catch up.

"When you look at how many holes I shaved today and with two balls in the water, two sixes on par 5s which is probably giving away too many shots on the field; I'm still within reasonable striking distance," Colsaerts said.

Harrington clearly smells blood in the water and with nothing to lose and 985,495 Ryder Cup points to gain, he fancies his chances.

"I did say to my caddie at one stage when we were going around, you know, Nicolas was 16 and every time we looked up he was going further forward," Harrington said with a grin. "I said, 'It would be a great tournament if Nicolas wasn't in it.'

"Thankfully he's decided to come back to the field. Funny thing is he's still got a great chance of winning the tournament from where he is, but certainly there's a lot more people who are going to have restless nights because Nicolas has come back."

Harrington holed twice from off the green - hence the 21 putts - as he eliminated the unforced errors of Friday's 73 and got the maximum out of his game to put himself in contention for a 16th European Tour win that would catapult him into the 70s in the world rankings.

Shane Lowry is cautious about his chances in Turkey on Sunday

Shane Lowry is cautious about his chances in Turkey on Sunday

Like Paul Dunne, who is just five behind on nine-under after a 67, Lowry could move to within touching distance of the world's top 50 with a win that could prove to be a huge career watershed. 

"Yeah, listen, it's been a while since I've won," Lowry said, fleeing from premature talk of victory. "So I can't really remember what it was like. I just have to get out there tomorrow and play my game and do what I do every day. If it's good enough, it's good enough. If it's not, so be it and that's the way it is."

There's no doubt that Lowry will be keen to prove his critics wrong and that pressure is good news for Harrington and especially for Rose, who won just last weekend and hasn't dropped a shot in 50 holes.

The Dubliner rarely contends these days but when he does, he's highly dangerous.

Seven top 10s in 108 starts worldwide since 2014 doesn't sound impressive until you realised that three of those top 10s are wins.

"I do read the situation well," the 46-year old said by way of explanation. "I definitely play better when my back's to the wall under a lot of pressure, but I don't play very well on a Thursday morning compared to a Sunday afternoon.

"I'd love to be in contention with nine holes to go. Basically, that's it. I love that position. If I mess it up, so be it. I'll embrace whatever happens. And I think through experience, I can read the situation well.

"So if I'm in good stead coming down the last nine, I'll be nervous, I'll be fearful but maybe that will play into my hands."

Lowry has been playing well since he returned from the US but even after carding a sublime 65 in round three to lead on 14-under par with Aphibarnrat (66),  he knows that one win since he notched his maiden professional victory in Portugal more than five years ago is a poor return for a man of his talents.

Looking fitter than he has for some time and clearly playing well, Pádraig Harrington won't be afraid to go for it at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort on Sunday

Looking fitter than he has for some time and clearly playing well, Pádraig Harrington won't be afraid to go for it at Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort on Sunday

Grouped with Harrington and Aphibarnrat for the final round, it's a massive day for the Offaly man — his biggest since Dustin Johnson broke his heart in the 2016 US Open at Oakmont.

As for the chasing pack, Rose won last week’s WGC-HSBC Champions after making up eight shots on world No 1 Johnson. And another win would boost his chances of catching Tommy Fleetwood at the top of the Race to Dubai with two events remaining after this week. 

"Today was the best I've played all week, and maybe even better than last week," Rose said. "I just felt really comfortable out on the golf course today.

“I kind of knew I had a low round in me this week, and to find it today was very handy, obviously moving day. Although I didn't go out chasing today, I wanted to go out really focused and really committed to my shots. I think I hit my irons better because of that today.

“I think as a golfer you always walk off going, there could have been one or two more putts that fell or whoever it might be. Overall very happy with that. I don't know what the lead is going to finish but right now within two, and if you had given me that at the beginning of the day, I'd have been delighted.

“I don't know Tommy (Fleetwood), what he shot today, but any Euro is going to be a handy Euro. If I was to play well in Dubai and win there, then whatever cheque I make tomorrow could be very valuable. Of course, everything's to play for and every shot counts at this stage of the season."

Turkish Airlines Open, Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort (Par 72)

Detailed scores

199 K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 66 67 66, Shane Lowry (Irl) 68 66 65

201 N Colsaerts (Bel) 64 64 73, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 65 72 64, J Rose (Eng) 69 68 64, 

202 T Pieters (Bel) 69 67 66, 

203 T Olesen (Den) 69 68 66, M Southgate (Eng) 69 65 69, S Gallacher (Sco) 69 65 69, E Pepperell (Eng) 66 66 71, D Frittelli (RSA) 70 67 66, M Pavon (Fra) 66 71 66, 

204 J Suri (USA) 68 70 66, J Luiten (Ned) 64 73 67, Paul Dunne (Irl) 67 70 67, P Uihlein (USA) 69 67 68, L Westwood (Eng) 67 68 69, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 69 65 70, 

205 F Zanotti (Par) 72 66 67, C Shinkwin (Eng) 71 67 67, 

206 I Poulter (Eng) 66 71 69, P Waring (Eng) 70 69 67, A Levy (Fra) 72 70 64, 

207 C Wood (Eng) 68 73 66, S Kjeldsen (Den) 67 69 71, R Ramsay (Sco) 71 68 68, 

208 D Lipsky (USA) 74 67 67, T Fleetwood (Eng) 71 70 67, N Elvira (Esp) 69 71 68, A Romero (Arg) 65 72 71, M Kaymer (Ger) 71 71 66, T Hatton (Eng) 67 70 71, H Porteous (RSA) 64 75 69, 

209 B Wiesberger (Aut) 69 71 69, J Campillo (Esp) 68 71 70, R Rock (Eng) 72 69 68, 

210 H Stenson (Swe) 73 71 66, M Siem (Ger) 70 70 70, A Dodt (Aus) 74 67 69, L Bjerregaard (Den) 70 70 70, J Smith (Eng) 69 67 74, 

211 A Altuntas (Tur) 71 69 71, B Hebert (Fra) 72 71 68, T Bjørn (Den) 70 71 70, S Brazel (Aus) 72 72 67, 

212 A Björk (Swe) 71 72 69, V Dubuisson (Fra) 73 70 69, G Coetzee (RSA) 71 71 70, R Wattel (Fra) 75 68 69, 

213 A Sullivan (Eng) 69 69 75, A Connelly (Can) 72 73 68, A Johnston (Eng) 70 73 70, R Fox (Nzl) 73 68 72, G Bourdy (Fra) 69 74 70, E Molinari (Ita) 74 69 70, 

214 R Sterne (RSA) 76 71 67, S Hend (Aus) 72 70 72, A Wall (Eng) 74 72 68, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 74 70 70, 

215 D Drysdale (Sco) 68 73 74, M Wallace (Eng) 71 72 72, R Paratore (Ita) 75 71 69, A Otaegui (Esp) 69 70 76, M Warren (Sco) 72 70 73, P Larrazábal (Esp) 81 70 64, J Wang (Kor) 72 73 70, 

216 H Tanihara (Jpn) 74 69 73, H Li (Chn) 73 73 70, M Fraser (Aus) 69 71 76, D Horsey (Eng) 70 73 73, L Slattery (Eng) 70 72 74, S Jamieson (Sco) 73 74 69, B Stone (RSA) 70 74 72, 

218 D Burmester (RSA) 76 72 70, 

226 L Acikalin (am) (Tur) 73 77 76, 

227 N Bertasio (Ita) 75 74 78, 

229 G Storm (Eng) 75 75 79, 

233 T Yamac (am) (Tur) 79 79 75.