Straffan - Tournament host Rory McIlroy insisted common sense prevailed in
having play stopped on an already rain-interrupted third day of the
Irish Open on Saturday.
McIlroy was three shots clear of his
rivals, at nine under par and standing on the 16th tee near 20:20 local
time when he became locked in talks with a European Tour
official over the value of teeing up in the deteriorating light and
continuing rain at the K. Club.
The four-time Major winner clearly
did not want to play his tee shot and then have played called for the
day after two prior lengthy stoppages.
Play had been suspended
firstly for two hours and 18 minutes but no sooner had the players
ventured back onto the course and there was a further one-and-a-half
delay ahead of a 19:55 local time resumption.
moved to nine under par with a second birdie of his round at the 10th
hole and on return following the second stoppage.
common sense prevailed and with McIlroy winning through as play was
halted at 20:28 local time, and with the third round to continue at
07:30 local time on Sunday.
"I was getting feedback that people
around the 16th green were complaining how dark it was getting and then
on the 17th tee what with all the trees surrounding the green," said
"As well, I had trouble reading my putt on the 15th green
so I didn't know where to hit it and I said to my caddy: 'I'll just hit
"But they made the right call as it was just
getting so dark and I just was not comfortable hitting that tee shot at
16, and also at the thought of having to come back in the morning to
play my second shot."
McIlroy has finally put himself in position
to end a six-month winless drought with a bogey-free 15 holes and three
shots clear of Masters champion, Danny Willett who will restart his
round also on the 16th tee at six under par.
"Today was a day just
to hang in there and not make too many mistakes and that's what I said
on Friday that I wanted to do today," McIlroy said.
"I've had no
bogeys in 15 holes and that is good, and while I left a few out there I
cannot complain having a three shot lead and with three holes to play to
try and get into double digit figures."
Scotland's Russell Knox enjoys the clubhouse lead shooting a two under par and finish on five under par.
had cracked the face of his driver in a round of 75 on day one and
after borrowing a replacement, the current world number 38 added a
second round 66 and is now in line for a hopeful top- three finish on a
first visit to Ireland.
"I was pathetic the first day, brilliant on Friday but not too great today," said Knox.
Frenchman Sebastien Gros moved to a then share of second place at six under par when he eagled the 16th.
the 26-year old, who won twice on last year's secondary Challenge Tour,
then put three balls into the water at the par four 17th, including two
off the tee and a third into the water guarding the green in taking a
quadruple bogey eight.
The Frenchman ended with a round of 73 and a clubhouse share of 14th place.