Robert Rock made a 60-foot bomb at the 17th hole at Lahinch Saturday for birdie, an eagle at the 18th would have made him the second man to shoot 59 on the European Tour.
Rock had a pretty good look at it from about 25 feet on the fringe of the final green. He gave it a good run but ended up with a tap-in for 60 and the 54-hole lead at the Irish Open.
“That’s the first chance I’ve had to do it,” he said of his near 59. “It’s disappointing not to but 60 is a great score. It’s my best score. I played rubbish so far this year, so just delighted to play better. It is a good opportunity, it’s an opportunity to get my season back on track, to try to qualify for The Open and maybe have a chance to win a tournament again, which would be lovely because it’s been a long while,” Rock said after his career-round got him to 13-under par and a one-shot lead over Eddie Pepperell and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
“Any time you’ve got a chance to win a tournament like the Irish Open or Scottish Open, it really means something, it gives me a little extra focus. It’s hard to say it makes you play great because you can’t force that but it’s a great tournament and the people are amazing. I think the quality of the golf course is just fun to play.”
After four birdies and a bogey on the front nine, Rock birdied the 10th then ran off birdies over his final six holes then flirted with eagle at 18.
Four Leaders at 20-Under At Thornberry Creek:
The crazy-low scoring took a day off Saturday at the LPGA’s Thornberry Creek Classic and by day’s end, four players were tied for the 54-hole lead.
Sung Hyun Park started her round and was looking like she’d run away from the field. The world’s No. 1 player was 23-under through 14 holes with the very reachable par five 15th in front of her. After a good drive, she hit her second way right into the water and that would lead to a double-bogey seven. Another bogey at the 16th and she’d go on to shoot 69. She fell back to 20-under and found herself tied with three other players.
American Tiffany Joh was among them. Joh shot 66 to get to 20-under while her playing partner — Shanshan Feng from China, shot 65 to join the 20-under gang.
Last year’s Player Of The Year — Ariya Jutanugarn, didn’t have her best stuff on Saturday but still managed to shoot 67 and will have a shot Sunday at her first win this season.
The 17-year-old Monday qualifier — Yealimi Noh — is only a shot back at 19-under after her round of 69.