Australia’s Richard Green was locked in a tense battle with Simon Dyson for the Irish Open title heading into the closing holes of the final round at Killarney on Sunday.
Green, ranked 82nd in the world, had been part of a three-way tie with English duo Simon Dyson and David Howell at the end of Saturday’s third round, but with five holes to play the left-hander moved into sole possession of first place with a one-shot lead.
After taking pole position at the second hole with a birdie putt, Green then dropped a shot himself at the fourth and that brought the 40-year-old back level with Dyson at 11 under par for the tournament.
He responded well to that dropped shot however and reeled off birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth holes.
Dyson parred the first seven holes, while Howell felt out of contention as he dropped a shot at the first after hitting his opening drive onto the beach by Lough Leane and then taking a penalty drop.
Green, who finished 16th at the recent British Open, is chasing his fourth career title and his first since last year’s Portugal Masters, but Dyson wouldn’t surrender without a fight.
He birdied the eighth, 10th and 11th holes to stay level with Green before a bogey at the 13th allowed the Australian to regain top spot.
Meanwhile, US Open champion Rory McIlroy’s disappointing tournament finished on a suitably downbeat note as he carded a round of 71, leaving him well behind the leaders at three under par.
McIlroy’s fellow Northern Ireland star Graeme McDowell fared a little better, but is also out of the running for the title.
McDowell, who won the US Open in 2010, hit three birdies on the front nine and finished with a one under par round of 65 to reach four under for the tournament.