Patient Lowry chisels out Wentworth chance
Andrew Dodt. Picture: Getty

Andrew Dodt. Picture: Getty

Shane Lowry believes he's due a big day at Wentworth sooner or later and it could be this week after he produced an immaculate back nine in a patient third round 70 to keep his BMW PGA title hopes very much alive.

A win would catapult the 30-year old comfortably back into the world's top 40 and end a year when he's been, if not quite a zombie following his US Open reverse, a forlorn figure at times.

One-over to the turn and back to one-under for the Championship with nine holes to play, Lowry eagled the par-five 12th and then got up and down for another birdie at the 17th to go into the final round in a three-way tie for fifth with Henrik Stenson (73) and Hideto Tanihara (67) on four-under par.

He's four strokes behind Australian Andrew Dodt, who shot a 68 to lead by one from Branden Grace on eight-under with Lee Westwood (72) and Francesco Molinari (74), three behind on five-under.

"I can't wait for tomorrow," Lowry said, unaware at the time how far behind the leader he might start." Looking forward to chilling out this evening and getting out there tomorrow and going after it.

"I think mentally I was just very good. Even after I had a bad bogey on the ninth, where I missed a short putt, I just kept going, kept grinding out and just kept making pars. 

"Eventually, I made a nice eagle on 12 and managed to birdie 17. Yeah, delighted with my day's work. Really looking forward to tomorrow."

Lowry loves the challenge of Wentworth when conditions are firm and the wind is swirling because it's a test of driving, brilliant approach play and great chipping.

"It's like Augusta, and the greens are really firm," he said. "It's hard to control your ball and you need to just get out there and grind it out. That's what I do well on a tough golf course. I love playing tough golf, and this is one of these weeks that's like that."

As for Sunday, he's got one second-place and another two top-six finishes to his credit.

He said: "I know I'm going to have a chance and I know I'm going to be off late, and hopefully I can get out and get off to a good start and put myself in the mix with five or six holes to go.

"I've been there on this course a couple of times before. I haven't quite got the job done but hopefully, I can get out and get it done tomorrow."

Dodt will look to resist a world-class chasing pack after he fired a sparkling 68 in testing conditions over the West Course to charge into a one-stroke lead over Grace; with Westwood and Molinari tied for third place on five under.

Stenson sits alongside Lowry and the Japanese Tanihara on four under, while the English quartet Ross Fisher, Tyrrell Hatton, Andrew Johnston and Graeme Storm joined Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Welshman Bradley Dredge, German Maximilian Kieffer and Scotsman Scott Jamieson five shots off the lead.

Dodt has two European Tour wins to his name - both coming in Asia - and enjoyed an excellent start to the season with back-to-back top threes before the turn of the year.

Victory on Sunday would represent the biggest win of his career and he will have to be at his very best to hold off the challenge of a hungry chasing pack.

Andrew Dodt

"I just wanted to hit each shot at a time and commit to that shot, which I think I did. I had a few chances early on I didn't quite take, and then just played a solid back nine, and it got a little bit tricky with the wind.

"I've been working pretty hard on the mental side. I think that helped me today for sure and probably my short game as well. I needed to tidy it up a bit over the last few months and I didn't need it too much today because my long game was pretty good. It all feels pretty good.

"There will be a few nerves, a lot of nerves there but I’ve just got to try to do what I've been doing the last three days and if I can do that, I can give myself a chance.

Branden Grace

"It was tough, man, I tell you, you just kind of are trying for pars. I managed to make a few birdies but there was a couple of bogeys that crept in. When I got around the corner it was good - missed a few but I made a few nice ones there as well - it's just such a grind out there.

"Ball-striking was pretty much the key. I've always enjoyed playing in the wind. Just trying to pick the spots and trying to hit the right shots, trying to give myself chances. I didn't get greedy at all and when I had the chances, I took them but I left a few out there which was surprising, but I'm happy overall.

"It’s one of those events that as a junior and amateur, and even as a pro, this is one that you always watched and it would be great to be part of that history.

Lee Westwood

“On the day you want to go out and hit as many solid shots and fairways and greens as possible. I had one green in regulation, and ended up 23 putts and 95 percent scrambling. When things aren't going your way you have to find another way of getting it around the golf course and I did. It’s probably one of the best put together rounds I've had in quite some time.

"My short game's been really sharp and it needed to be today. I hit a lot of good chips out there and didn't give myself too much hard work. And then when I hit fairways and greens on the last four holes, I was three-under for them.

“It was nice to finish with level par and the way I hit it tee-to-green, it never deserved to be anything like that. But the older you get and the more experience you get, you learn to grind out days like this. I knew it was going to be a tough-scoring day going out, and to be three over par coming down 15 was a pretty good effort the way I hit it. I know that around this golf course, you can make a couple birdies if you hit a couple good shots.

Francesco Molinari

"I think I fought well, especially the front nine. I think 11 and 12, I was a bit unlucky to say the least, got two fives there but I fought hard until the end. I'm still not too far away going into tomorrow, so that's all right.

"On days like today it's really hard to hit fairways, so you need to put it in your head that you need to make up the lines sometimes. So I created a few chances, probably not enough to play under par but hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.

Paul Dunne played his final seven holes in three under par to card a 72 and remain on two-over par, tied for 44th place.

Round Three Score

Detailed scores

208 A Dodt (Aus) 70 70 68, 

209 B Grace (RSA) 68 71 70, 

211 L Westwood (Eng) 70 69 72, F Molinari (Ita) 67 70 74, 

212 Shane Lowry (Irl) 68 74 70, H Stenson (Swe) 68 71 73, H Tanihara (Jpn) 76 69 67, 

213 R Fisher (Eng) 68 73 72, A Johnston (Eng) 73 68 72, M Kieffer (Ger) 70 68 75, B Dredge (Wal) 68 76 69, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 67 75 71, G Storm (Eng) 68 72 73, T Hatton (Eng) 69 72 72, S Jamieson (Sco) 67 70 76, 

214 B An (Kor) 70 69 75, J Luiten (Ned) 71 71 72, J Smith (Eng) 72 71 71, N Bertasio (Ita) 68 73 73, R Ramsay (Sco) 69 74 71,

215 A Noren (Swe) 68 75 72, N Colsaerts (Bel) 71 75 69, P Uihlein (USA) 74 69 72, N Fasth (Swe) 71 73 71, O Fisher (Eng) 70 70 75, T Pieters (Bel) 68 69 78, B Wiesberger (Aut) 71 70 74, 

216 S Kjeldsen (Den) 71 71 74, J Campillo (Esp) 72 73 71, F Fritsch (Ger) 70 75 71, S Gallacher (Sco) 73 73 70, V Dubuisson (Fra) 73 70 73, J Rose (Eng) 72 74 70, 

217 J Van Zyl (RSA) 71 69 77, P Hanson (Swe) 70 73 74, A Sullivan (Eng) 71 75 71, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 73 73 71, D Burmester (RSA) 69 76 72, S Hend (Aus) 71 75 71, 

218 B Hebert (Fra) 71 72 75, A Björk (Swe) 70 75 73, Paul Dunne (Irl) 71 75 72, D Drysdale (Sco) 75 71 72, P Peterson (USA) 74 72 72, A Wall (Eng) 73 72 73, I Poulter (Eng) 76 69 73, 

219 C Wood (Eng) 72 74 73, E Els (RSA) 71 73 75, B Ritthammer (Ger) 71 74 74, A Levy (Fra) 71 75 73, S Chawrasia (Ind) 73 72 74, D Brooks (Eng) 70 75 74, D Howell (Eng) 71 73 75, G Bourdy (Fra) 72 73 74, M Manassero (Ita) 73 71 75, 

220 P Larrazábal (Esp) 71 74 75, T Jaidee (Tha) 72 72 76, D Horsey (Eng) 71 74 75, J Carlsson (Swe) 66 73 81, L Haotong (Chn) 69 76 75, 

221 D Willett (Eng) 72 73 76, M Ilonen (Fin) 70 76 75, 

222 T Bjørn (Den) 75 71 76, 

224 L Donald (Eng) 75 68 81, S Gros (Fra) 71 75 78, 

226 R Wattel (Fra) 73 73 80