Ireland’s Shane Lowry and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat share the lead at the Turkish Airlines Open through three rounds after Nicolas Colsaerts went ice cold on Saturday.
After shooting back to back 64s, the Belgian fell off with a 2-over 73 to land at 12-under, in a three-way tie for third with Justin Rose and Padraig Harrington.
Colsaerts looked on target to extend his lead when hit the turn at 2-under. The honeymoon ended shortly thereafter as he double-bogeyed No. 11, and bogeyed 12 and 15; an ugly 41 on the back nine. Prior to the closing eight holes, Colsaerts had just one bogey in the tournament’s first 46 holes.
His blunders allowed for Lowry and Aphibarnrat to swipe the lead. Lowry shot a flawless 6-under 65, firing three straight birdies from 11-13 to take the lead. Aphibarnrat also shot a bogey-free round, finishing with a 5-under 66 on the day. Lowry is after his first win in more than two years since taking the WGC-Bridgestone in August of 2015. Oddly enough, Aphibarnrat’s last win came one week before Lowry’s, in August of 2015 at the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay.
But it’s Justin Rose that the rest of the field seems most wary of. After winning the WGC-HSBC a week ago, Rose fired a 64, tied for the low round of the day, on Saturday, to reach 12-under. Rose was 2-under through 11, then birdied four straight from 12 to 15. He has not recorded a bad hole since double-bogeying No. 2 on Thursday. if not for that shot, he would be tied for the lead.
Just as impressive on Saturday was Harrington, who shot the front nine in a blazing 29 with birdies on 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9. He would have been within a shot of the lead other than bogeying No. 15.
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters is alone in sixth at 11-under. Six other players are tied for seventh at 10-under, four strokes off the lead.