Irish Open tight at the top

European Tour

The third round of the Irish Open will start with six players tied for first place on the leaderboard on three under par.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, Dane Soren Kjeldsen, English pair Tyrrell Hatton and Chris Wood and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello all share a narrow one-shot lead over their nearest rivals at the halfway mark of the event.

Hatton was the top performer in the leading pack on Friday, shooting a five-under 66 to erase the two-over 73 he carded in Thursday’s first round.

Wiesberger and Ramsay were the next best, shooting four-under 67’s after carding 72s in round one. Kjeldsen added a 70 to his first round 69 and Hatton posted 69 after a first round 70.

Two-time European Tour winner Wiesberger has struggled for form in recent weeks and missed the cut at last week’s BMW PGA Championship.

“I’m hitting it much better than last week. I put in some work on the weekend after what was a disappointing week at Wentworth,” he told the European Tour website.

“I drove the ball really nicely so far this week. It’s important here; the fairways are not wide. To get chances you need to come out of the fairway. I think I’ve done is pretty well.

The Austrian bogeyed holes two and seven, fired four birdies between nine and 17 and eagled the 18th to finish on a high.

“The back nine was definitely some of the best I’ve played. Obviously you’ve got to hole a couple of putts and sometimes you’ve got to scramble a little bit,” he said.

“I played pretty today, even though I don’t think anyone was going out there today without any dropped shots – it’s hard.

“I really, really enjoyed the challenge out there and considering all that, I think this is one of my best rounds.”

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and England’s Luke Donald are tied for seventh on two under.

Harrington shot an impressive 67 on Thursday to take sixth position overnight, but shot a two-over 73 in round two.

Donald retained seventh place after a second 70 at Royal County Down this week.

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