Shane Lowry and Kinsale golfer John Murphy are in a tie for second heading into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, three strokes behind the leader Danny Willett.

Both playing their third round at the Old Course at St Andrews, Lowry and Murphy shot rounds of 67 to clamber into a tie for second place, alongside English duo Tyrrell Hatton and Richard Bland.


The 22-year-old Murphy registered a bogey-free third round, rolling in five birdies on the 1st, 5th, 8th, 10th and 18th to get to 11 under par.

Murphy turned pro this summer after playing in this year's Walker Cup in Florida and made his Challenge Tour debut in June.

Kinsale's John Murphy is right in contention in the final round in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

Finishing late in the day on Saturday, Lowry matched his countryman's score, having begun like a train with four successive birdies from the 2nd to the 5th. Another birdie followed on the 8th hole for an outward nine of 31.

As the wind began to whip up and the weather started to bite, Lowry dug on, tossing in a bogey on the 10th but was consistent thereafter, rustling up a birdie on the 16th as others struggled in the conditions.

At the head of the field, however, is 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett. The Englishman started the day on eight under par and carded a blemish free round on the Old Course, with six birdies lifting him onto 14 under par.

"Early on we had a decent bit of wind. Downwind you always feel like you should take some of your chances," said Willett.

"You need to drive it close and as soon as you get on the 12th tee you know you've got pretty tough conditions coming straight into the wind on them last six holes.

"But we played them in two under so we're gaining - really hit it good on them last six and gained a lot of shots coming in doing that."

Tyrrell Hatton was for a time level with Willett on 14 under par after opening with four successive birdies but he struggled into the breeze in the wet conditions on the back nine and three straight bogeys pushed back into the group on 11 under par.

British Masters champion Richard Bland joined the quarter on 11 under par after a stunning round of 64, which included an outward nine of 30.

England's Daniel Gavins had led the way at 15 under but dropped five shots in his last three holes at Kingsbarns to sit in the group at 10 under, a shot clear of Scot Ewen Ferguson.

Of the remaining Irish contenders, 2011 champion Michael Hoey - playing his third round in Carnoustie - was the only one to make the cut, carding a round of 71 to sit on five under par, four shots above the cut-line.

Just outside the cut was Wicklow's Paul Dunne, who was one shot shy of making Sunday, after a third round of 74 in Kingsbarns.

Padraig Harrington, two time winner in 2002 and 2006, finished with a third round 69 in St Andrews, but finished on three over par after a pair of 75s on the first two days.

Well down the field were Cormac Sharvin and Jonathan Caldwell on nine over and 12 over respectively.