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Luiten reels in Lowry at Wales Open
20 Sep 2014 18:06
Holland's Joost Luiten put himself in pole position to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the Ryder Cup in the ISPS Handa Wales Open on Saturday.
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Luiten, who was considered for a wild card by European captain Paul McGinley, carded a third round of 65 at Celtic Manor to turn a one-shot deficit into a two-shot lead over Ireland's Shane Lowry, who is 12 under overall after 68.
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Simon Thornton is on three under after shooting 70, with Damien McGrane two over after a 72.
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Both Luiten and Lowry got off to a flying start on a day of low scoring, Luiten making birdies at the first, third and fifth and playing partner Lowry responding on the second, third and sixth.
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But while Lowry could then only manage a string of 12 consecutive pars, Luiten birdied three of the last four holes to continue his superb recent form.
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The 28-year-old was fourth in the Italian Open, the last qualifying event for the Ryder Cup, and after being overlooked for a wild card two days later, finished fifth in the defence of his KLM Open title on home soil last week.
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"If you had these last couple of events counting for Ryder Cup qualification maybe I have a chance, but you know when the date ends and the qualification stops and you have to play well before that and I didn't do that," Luiten said. "You have to be realistic.
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"I'm just happy that I'm playing good again and just want to keep going again.
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Lowry, who won the Irish Open as an amateur in 2009 and the Portugal Masters in 2012, said after his 68: "I got off to a flyer and just nothing really happened for me. I did make three good par saves, but I would have liked to make a couple more birdies and probably should have.
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"I'm right where I want to be for tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it. I'm still there. If you had given me this Thursday morning before I stood on the first tee, I would have taken your hand off. I'm where I want to be and I feel like I have a chance tomorrow.
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"Joost is playing lovely but I felt like I played lovely myself. Just warm up the putter tonight and see what happens tomorrow."
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