Holland’s Joost Luiten put himself in pole position to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the Ryder Cup in the ISPS Handa Wales Open yesterday.
Luiten, who was considered for a wild card by European captain Paul McGinley, carded a third round of 65 at Celtic Manor to turn a one-shot deficit into a two-shot lead over Ireland’s Shane Lowry.
Both players got off to a flying start on a day of low scoring, Luiten making birdies at the first, third and fifth and Lowry responding on the second, third and sixth.
But while Lowry could then only manage a string of 12 consecutive pars, Luiten birdied three of the last four holes.
The 28-year-old was fourth in the Italian Open, the last qualifying event for the Ryder Cup, and after being overlooked for a wild card two days later, finished fifth in the defence of his KLM Open title on home soil last week.
“If you had these last couple of events counting for Ryder Cup qualification maybe I have a chance, but you know when the date ends and the qualification stops and you have to play well before that and I didn’t do that,” Luiten said. “You have to be realistic.
“I’m just happy that I’m playing good again and just want to keep going again.”
Lowry said after his 68: “I got off to a flyer and just nothing really happened for me. I’m right where I want to be for tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. I’m still there. If you had given me this on Thursday, I’d have taken your hand off.”
Of the three Ryder Cup players left in the field, Welshman Jamie Donaldson was best placed on eight under after a 68, with Lee Westwood three under after a 68 which featured a birdie-eagle finish.
Thomas Bjorn fired a level-par 71 made up of 18 straight pars.
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