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Luiten & Larrazabal separate from pack

ESPN staff
June 29, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Paul Casey has put himself in the mix at Carton House © Getty Images
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Irish Open leaderboard

Two-time European Tour winner Joost Luiten holds the lead heading into the final round of the Irish Open, as he looks for his second victory inside a month.

Luiten, winner of the Lyoness Open to start June, fired an impressive round of 66 on Saturday at Carton House to burst into the lead at 13-under par - aided by the troubles of many of the overnight leaders.

"It's always good to go into the final round as the leader," the Dutchman said. "This is the Irish Open, so maybe it's a bit bigger [tournament] than some of the others."

Neither Robert Rock or Peter Uihlein, the members of the final pairing, were quite able to continue their impressive start on Saturday, although Rock at least remains in touch at 10-under.

Uihlein, however, seemed shaken by a tiny putt for birdie he missed at the second, as he dropped three shots in the next three holes, reeling off 13 straight pars from there to finish seven-under, perhaps too far behind to make a run for the title on Sunday.

Luiten, in contrast, had three birdies on each nine as he navigated the course in 66 shots - with barely a bad swing among them. That handed him a one-shot advantage over Pablo Larrazabal, whose matching 66 was completed in similarly mistake-free fashion.

"It was good today," Luiten said. "A round with no bogeys, in this wind, was good. It looks like I'm playing good, playing consistent - the game feels good.

"You just have to stay out of the fairway bunkers. If you can do that you can shoot a decent score."

Rock added: "I've played with Joost a few times recently, he's swinging great. It's no surprise to see him shoot 66 today."

Elsewhere, Paul Casey will be hoping to cap his recent return to form with a trophy on Sunday, after he moved into contention at nine-under par. Four-under before a slight mistake at the 15th, the Englishman finished with successive birdies to give himself a great chance in the final round.

Casey is tied with Scot land'sScott Henry, with a number of players including Jose Maria Olazabal and Alvaro Quiros one shot behind.

After the failure of the likes of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington to make Friday's halfway cut, a home winner always looked unlikely. And it certainly seems the crowds will not be cheering a domestic champion on Sunday evening - with Peter Lawrie the best of the Irishmen at six-under.

Local favourite, and 2009 tournament champion Shane Lowry is a shot further behind.

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