Disciplined Dawson eases six clear at Royal County Down
 Robin Dawson (Tramore) pitching to the 16th green during day three of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf Club. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Robin Dawson (Tramore) pitching to the 16th green during day three of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf Club. Picture by Pat Cashman

Tramore's Robin Dawson vowed to stick to his game plan after he fired a two-under 69 to take a commanding six-stroke lead into the final round of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open at Royal County Down.

Two ahead of England's Alex Fitzpatrick at halfway, the 22-year-old international rapped in four birdies in another disciplined performance with three of them coming in his last six holes.

"It's been discipline and a lot of patience," said Dawson, who heads the field on eight-under-par 205 from 19-year old Sheffield native Fitzpatrick, younger brother of Ryder Cup player Matt, who shot a 73.

Asked how he planned to handle such a big lead, he said: "It's just another round of golf tomorrow, that's how I see it. 

"I am playing well enough, so we'll see. I will just take it one shot a time.  So the plan is to just keep playing well and where we end up tomorrow." 

Castle's Alex Gleeson lies third, 10 strokes off the lead after a  two-over 73 with South of Ireland champions James Sugrue the next best of the Irish on six over after a 71. 

Ten home players made the cut for the top 50 and ties, which fell at 12-over 225.

"I thought I did everything well," said Dawson, who made up for failing to birdie the first by holing an 18 footer at the second.

"It's never going to be perfect but I am pretty pleased with the way I played.

"I missed a few putts but I also made a couple of putts. Being last out, we are not getting the best of the greens either so I am pleased to be in a nice position."

After following a bogey at the tough fifth with seven pars in a steady 20 mph southwest wind, he took advantage of more benign conditions over the closing holes.

Frustrated not to birdie the par-five 12th, he holed a 20 footer down the hill at the 13th and a 30 footer after a six-iron ran to the back of the par-three 14th before following a bogey at the 15th, where he missed from five feet after a poor approach by holing  another 20 footer for birdie at the 16th.

Asked how he planned to handle such a big lead on Sunday, he said: "It's just another round of golf tomorrow, that's how I see it. I am playing well enough, so we'll see. I will just take it one shot a time.  So the plan is to just keep playing well and where we end up tomorrow. 

"The lead? It's dawned on me at times but I am pretty good at bringing myself back into the present before the shot and going back into my routine and starting all over again."

While his mid to long range putting has been key, it's been his course management that's made the difference.

"Yes, I've holed a nice couple of putts this week but I didn't hole much yesterday and shot level par," he said. "Some days you are going to have that and some days you're not. That's the way it is. 

"I am just going to go out and play golf tomorrow. I am in a good frame of mind at the moment." 

Reflecting on his round, he pointed to his birdies at the second and 13th as key.

"The one at the first just dived left on me. So  I made a lovely birdie on two and 13 was a really nice birdie after making a stupid error on my second shot on 12 and not birdieing that was a bit frustrating," he said. "But the ones on 13 and 14 got me back on pace for the round."

As for his gameplan, he said: "It's just putting it in the right places off the tee and on the greens. Approach played is key around here. You can't miss the greens in the wrong spots."

Asked how it might feel to win the blue riband event on such an iconic course, he smiled and said: "I'll tell you tomorrow."

Flogas Irish Amateur Open, Royal County Down (Par 71)

Today’s tee-times

  1. 08:00 Olesen, Melching;
  2. 08:11 Mullarney, Brophy;
  3. 08:22 Chamberlain, Waite, Plumb ;
  4. 08:33 Gill, Hapgood, Cope;
  5. 08:44 Howie, Power, McDougall;
  6. 08:55 Nel, Mitchell, McIntosh;
  7. 09:06 Debove, Yates, Easton;
  8. 09:17 Flanagan, Germishuys, McMahon;
  9. 09:28 Laussot, Hague, Langley;
  10. 09:39 Hill, Poppleton, Mansfield;
  11. 10:01 Lamprecht, McKenzie, Watts;
  12. 10:12 Walker, Hanisch, Vahlenkamp;
  13. 10:23 Saulez, Shepherd, Vaillant);
  14. 10:34 Brazill, Hutchinson, Schaper;
  15. 10:45 Foley, Huggins, Wilson;
  16. 10:56 Reitan, Bachem, Woollam;
  17. 11:07 Bloor, Hammer, Strickland;
  18. 11:18 Sugrue, Clements, Gough;
  19. 11:29 Gleeson, Fitzpatrick, Dawson

After 54 holes

Detailed scores

205 R Dawson (Tramore) 65 71 69;

211 A Fitzpatrick (Eng) 68 70 73;

215 A Gleeson (Castle) 68 74 73;

216 J Gough (Eng) 71 72 73;

218 T Clements (Eng) 74 76 68

219 J Sugrue (Mallow) 72 76 71; C Strickland (Eng) 72 74 73; M Hammer (Ger) 72 71 76; G Bloor (Eng) 71 75 73; C Woollam (RSA) 71 72 76; N Bachem (Ger) 70 75 74; K Reitan (Nor) 69 75 75; A Wilson (Eng) 69 73 77; 

220 O Huggins (Eng) 76 73 71; R Foley (Sui) 75 69 76; J Schaper (RSA) 73 77 70; B Hutchinson (Eng) 73 75 72; R Brazill (Naas) 73 72 75; T Vaillant (Fra) 73 71 76; L Shepherd (Eng) 72 80 68; M Saulez (RSA) 69 74 77;

221 T Vahlenkamp (Ger) 74 75 72; F Hanisch (Ger) 73 75 73; E Walker (Sco) 72 72 77; S Watts (Cairndhu) 70 76 75;

222 B McKenzie (Eng) 74 75 73; C Lamprecht (RSA) 74 70 78; C Mansfield (RSA) 73 74 75; N Poppleton (Eng) 73 74 75; A Hill (Athenry) 71 75 76; D Langley (Eng) 71 72 79; D Hague (Eng) 69 79 74;

223 A Laussot (Fra) 78 72 73; J McMahon (Eng) 75 74 74; D Germishuys (RSA) 75 73 75; A Flanagan (Eng) 75 73 75; S Easton (Sco) 74 70 79; J Yates (Naas) 73 78 72; Q Debove (Fra) 73 75 75; E McIntosh (Sco) 72 78 73; M Mitchell (RSA) 72 74 77; T Nel (RSA) 71 80 72;

224 A McDougall (Sco) 78 73 73; M Power (Kilkenny) 77 72 75; D Howie (Sco) 75 73 76; J Cope (Eng) 73 78 73; J Hapgood (Wal) 70 78 76; B Gill (Eng) 70 77 77;

225 T Plumb (Eng) 78 74 73; M Waite (Eng) 75 79 71; B Chamberlain (Wal) 73 78 74; D Brophy (Castleknock) 73 76 76; R Mullarney (Galway) 71 77 77; P Melching (Ned) 71 75 79; J Skov Olesen (Den) 69 78 78.

Missed Cut

226 G Petrozzi (Eng) 78 75 73; L Abrial (Fra) 78 70 78; N Muller (Fra) 77 77 72; W Nienaber (RSA) 77 76 73; R Pierse (Grange) 76 76 74; S Locke (Sco) 76 76 74; A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) 74 74 78; C Barrow (Sco) 72 83 71; G Chevalier (Fra) 71 79 76; P Brennan (Belvoir Park) 71 77 78; G Collins (Rosslare) 70 78 78; C Thornton (Eng) 70 76 80; D Rauch (Ger) 69 80 77;

227 M Martin (Eng) 75 75 77; J Johnston (Sco) 75 72 80; R Williams (Eng) 73 73 81;

228 G Frimodt (Den) 81 75 72; J de Bruyn (Ger) 76 76 76; D Brown (Eng) 76 76 76; A Petit (Fra) 74 81 73; C Rafferty (Dundalk) 74 77 77; T Carter (Eng) 73 74 81; L Sanges (Wal) 72 78 78;

229 T McLarnon (Massereene) 78 74 77; M Ryan (New Ross) 77 74 78; H Goddard (Eng) 76 77 76; R Neergaard-Petersen (Den) 74 80 75; F Carr (Kirkistown Castle) 74 79 76; M Norton (Belvoir Park) 74 74 81; A Edwards-Hill (Eng) 74 74 81; J Mc Donnell (Forrest Little) 73 76 80; P O’Keeffe (Douglas) 71 75 83;

230 J Gaunt (Eng) 78 70 82; R Williamson (Holywood) 75 81 74; A Grant (Dundalk) 75 75 80;

231 W Porter (Sco) 80 72 79; T Sloman (Eng) 79 78 74; R Moran (Castle) 76 73 82; B Jones (Eng) 75 75 81; C Farr (Eng) 75 75 81; B Anderson (The Royal Dublin) 74 81 76; K Cantley (Sco) 74 78 79; S Done (Eng) 74 76 81; C Denvir (Elm Park) 73 78 80;

232 H Foley (The Royal Dublin) 78 75 79; T Thurloway (Eng) 76 71 85; J Brady (Rosslare) 73 79 80; J Wilson (Sco) 71 80 81; 

233 D McNeill (Sco) 82 83 68; C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire) 82 75 76; J Madden (Royal Portrush) 77 80 76; J Sundborg (Eng) 74 82 77; J Davies (Wal) 74 79 80;

234 M Lamb (Eng) 81 79 74; A Plumb (Eng) 76 81 77; J Mist (Eng) 74 81 79;

235 J Paterson (Sco) 82 76 77; T Shin (Eng) 81 76 78; O Crooks (Bushfoot) 80 78 77; D Mary (Fra) 79 76 80; J Whelan (Newlands) 77 81 77; R Cannon (Balbriggan) 69 77 89;

236 D Coghlan (Portmarnock) 79 85 72;

237 K Egan (Carton House) 78 80 79;

238 E Smith (L;town & B’town) 80 81 77; P Mullins (Wal) 78 78 82;

239 D Kitt (Athenry) 80 78 81; R Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 79 83 77; R Dutton (Tandragee) 78 81 80; J Bolton (Eng) 77 82 80;

240 W Small (Tandragee) 81 84 75; J Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 79 82 79; D McAleenon (Edenmore) 76 86 78;

241 G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 75 81 85;

242 R Knightly (Royal Dublin) 83 81 78;

243 E Farrell (Ardee) 78 85 80;

245 M d’Harcourt (Fra) 86 85 74;

WD J Fox (Portmarnock) 71 72 WD;

NR P Coughlan (Castleknock) 77 81

RTD M Jordan (Eng) 69 74 RTD;

WD J Pierse (Portmarnock) 73 WD; J Walsh (Castle) WD;

RTD J Glenn (Eng).