Irish Open Day 4

Jon Rahm and Daniel Im lead the way going into the final round at a rainy Portstewart

Ruaidhri Croke Sun, Jul 9
LIVE: Irish Open Day 4

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  • 11:32
    Good afternoon and welcome to The Irish Times liveblog of the final day's play at the 2017 Irish Open. I'm Ruaidhri Croke and I'll be with you for the afternoon as the drama unfolds at Portstewart. You can get involved by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog or you can get me on Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.
  • 11:36


    -17: Rahm, Im
    -16: Hebert
    -15: Tanihara
    -14: Quesne
    -13: Rose, Hend, Fox, Fisher
    -12: Southgate, Dredge, Moynihan (15)
    -11: Stewart (13), Hanson, Jamieson, Ramsay, Otaegui, Fleetwood, Uihlein, Peterson
    Irish scores: -12 Moynihan (15), -9 Lowry (12), -9 Harrington (7), -7 Dunne (12), -6 Hoey (10)


    07:40 David Horsey, Simon Dyson
    07:50 Soomin Lee, Thorbjørn Olesen
    08:00 Eduardo De La Riva, Miguel Angel Jiménez
    08:10 Chris Hanson, Romain Langasque
    08:20 Ian Poulter, Dean Burmester
    08:30 Matteo Manassero, Gavin Moynihan
    08:40 Sam Brazel, Duncan Stewart
    08:55 Matthew Fitzpatrick, Paul Dunne
    09:05 Shane Lowry, Rikard Karlberg
    09:15 Nathan Kimsey, Michael Hoey
    09:25 Andres Romero, Haydn Porteous
    09:35 Joost Luiten, Matthieu Pavon
    09:45 David Drysdale, Marcus Armitage
    09:55 Søren Kjeldsen, Fabrizio Zanotti
    10:10 Padraig Harrington, Stephen Gallacher
    10:20 Thomas Detry, Robert Karlsson
    10:30 Haotong Li, Grégory Bourdy
    10:40 Andy Sullivan, Felipe Aguilar
    10:50 Wade Ormsby, Hideki Matsuyama
    11:00 Ashley Chesters, Lee Slattery
    11:15 Jordan Smith, Marcus Fraser
    11:25 Anthony Wall, Sam Walker
    11:35 Callum Shinkwin, Andrew Dodt
    11:45 Peter Uihlein, Paul Peterson
    11:55 Tommy Fleetwood, Adrian Otaegui
    12:05 Scott Jamieson, Richie Ramsay
    12:20 Matthew Southgate, Peter Hanson
    12:30 Ryan Fox, Bradley Dredge
    12:40 Justin Rose, Oliver Fisher
    12:50 Julien Quesne, Scott Hend
    13:00 Benjamin Hebert, Hideto Tanihara
    13:10 Jon Rahm, Daniel Im

  • 11:37

    So, after a day of birdies on eagles in glorious conditions yesterday which showed this grand old links at its most beautiful for all of the world to see, the 24-hour Irish summer has very much come to an end. It's wind and rain on the cards at the Strand Course today folks and yesterday's turkey shoot is very much going to become a war of attrition.

    Jon Rahm and Daniel Im go into the final round as the joint leaders but are very much at opposite ends of pretty much every spectrum you can think of. Im is ranked 524th in the world, completely unheralded and without a major tour win while Rahm is ranked 11th, well on his way to becoming the global superstar he's destined to be and already has a PGA Tour title under his belt, looking to add a European Tour title to it this week. Im is far from one of the longer hitters on tour, instead relying on a very impressive array of shotmaking which we have seen a lot of over the first three days, as well as a razor sharp eye on the greens. Rahm, meanwhile, is very much the modern golfer - 6' plus, stocky and with arms like tree trunks the 22-year-old Spaniard canes the ball around the course, chases after it and canes it again. He does, however, also possess the soft hands around the greens of his Spanish idols Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros. All three have won this prestigious tournament before and it would be fitting for Rahm to add his name to that list on the 90th playing of the Irish Open.

    But let's not forget that there's a chasing cast well within reach of these two. Benjamin Hebert of France showed great fortitude to stick around yesterday despite some wayward play from the tee and finished strongly - including a 40 foot par putt at the last - to sit just one shot off the lead. Meanwhile, Hideto Tanihara stole the Japanese thunder from his compatriot Hideki Matsuyama by posting a round of 66 to continue the Indian summer of his career which all kicked off with that impressive run at the WGC Dell Matchplay earlier in the year when only world number one Dustin Johnson could beat him.

    Two shots behind Tanihara and possibly the biggest danger to Rahm and Im is Justin Rose. The Englishman seems to be coming back into form after that epic battle down the stretch against Garcia at Augusta in April and fired a 66 on Saturday to get within touching distance. A fast start for Rose and he could be in the lead or tied for the lead before Rahm and Im even have time to settle into their rounds.

    The Irish contingent, meanwhile, is led by Padraig Harrington at -8 after he could only manage a round of 71 yesterday, following a poor start. He's probably too far back to challenge but a strong finish will give him great confidence going into the Open in two week's time where he already has good karma having won the second of his Claret Jugs at Royal Birkdale in 2008. Meanwhile, for Paul Dunne it's a case of bouncing back after a poor 74 on Saturday and gaining some valuable world ranking points before his final assault at claiming a place in the Open when he tees it up at the scottish Open next week. A really low on and he might just sneak that place today.

    So, ladies and gents, boys and girls, it's the final round of the Irish Open, it's proper tough links conditions and it's some of the biggest names in world golf challenging for the famous piece of Waterford Crystal. Sit back and get comfortable because there are sure to be thrill, spills, bogeys, birdies, eagles and whatever else over the next few hours!

  • 11:45

    So, as you can see there, Gavin Moynihan, orginally of Donabate GC and now The Island, is tearing the Strand Course to pieces on this final day and shooting up the leaderboard.

    The 22-year-old, who recently won on the EuroPro Tour and notched up a second place finish on the Challenge Tour, has moved up to -12 for the tournament and into the top 10 after a stunning run of two birdies and an eagle at the 12th, 13th and 14th. That, added to birdies on his front nine at the fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth - offset by just one bogey at the eighth - has him up to seven under for the day and in a great position to bank a very healthy cheque and a lot of world ranking points.

    Shane Lowry is also making a charge towards the top 10 and is now -11 for the tournament and -5 for the day after 13 holes. After stalling in the second and third rounds he's picked up birdies at the sixth, seventh, ninth, 12th and 13th to get into a tie for 14th.

    While the conditions are tougher today than yesterday with wind and rain forecast to continue throughout the day, this old links is still proving very gettable for these players and you'd have to imagine now that the winning score will be at least -20.

  • 11:48
    If you're wondering about the fortunes of any particular player today, don't hesitate to use the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog to get in touch and I'll endevour to fill you in.
  • 11:53
    Some news just announced that next year's Irish Open will take place at Ballyliffin in Donegal from July 4th to 8th, two weeks before the British Open again. Great news.
  • 11:59

    Another birdie for Lowry - the latest coming at the 14th - moves him up to -12 alongside Moynihan and tied 11th with Southgate and Dredge - both of whom are yet to tee off.

    The bestr placed player currently on the course is Scotland's Duncan Stewart who is loving these classic links conditions at -8 for the day through 16 and -13 for the tournament. That's currently tied sixth.

  • 12:02

    -17: Rahm, Im
    -16: Hebert
    -15: Tanihara
    -14: Quesne
    -13: Rose, Hend, Fox, Fisher, Stewart (16)
    -12: Southgate, Dredge, Moynihan (16), Lowry (14)
    -11: Hanson, Jamieson, Ramsay, Otaegui, Fleetwood, Uihlein, Peterson (1)
    Irish scores: -12 Moynihan (16), -12 Lowry (14), -9 Harrington (9), -8 Hoey (13), -7 Dunne (15)

  • 12:05

    Moynihan climbs into the top six!

    What a round this is from the young Irishman only making his way on tour. He's found another birdie at the 17th from no less than 50 feet off the fringe! It's one of those days to say the least - absolutely everything is dropping. He's now -13 for the tournament and tied sixth with Rose, Hend, Fox, Fisher and Stewart.

  • 12:15
    It's a par at the last for Moynihan and he signs for a magnificent 63 to finish -13 for the tournament. He's currently tied-6th and will drop down as the later players go out during the day but either way it's going to be a very, very welcome payday for the 22-year-old.
  • 12:24

    Early birdies for Richie Ramsay and Tommy Fleetwood move them both up to -12 and five behind. There's still 45 minutes to go until the leaders tee off but already they're bunching up behind them.

    A par for Lowry at the 16th keeps him at -12 and just outside the top 10.

  • 12:29

    A birdie at the 13th and an eagle at the 14th move Michael Hoey to -10 and -4 for the day.

    Harrington sits two behind him as he struggles to pick up any momentum today with two birdies and two bogeys in his first 11 holes, leaving him at -8.

    Up ahead at the 17th Paul Dunne has jus made a good par save from 12 feet to remain -7.

  • 12:37
    Just as he did yesterday, Fleetwood has made a quick start. A raker for birdie at the second and another at the third of about half the length move him to -13 and just four behind now.
  • 12:39
    After finding trouble off the tee at the 18th, Lowry was forced to hack out on to the fairway. However, from there he's spun a lovely third shot in to five feet and knocked in the putt for a par. That's an impressive round of 66 for Offaly's finest and a current tied-13th spot.
  • 12:42
  • 12:42
    Justin Rose and Oliver Fisher have just teed off at the first. Fisher's hooked left but got a fortunate bounce off the gallery back into the first cut. Rose went the other way and wasn't as lucky, his ball bounding into the long fescue and nestling right down.
  • 12:50

    Tommy Fleetwood is on the move at a rapid pace. After winning Paris last weekend he's looking for two in a row and might just sneak up from behind today and do exactly that. He's just added a third birdie in a row at the fourth and is now -14, tied-5th and just three behind Im and Rahm who tee off in just over 20 minutes.

    Alongside him at that mark is Scotland's David Drysdale who has birdied four in a row on the back nine and is -6 for the day.

    Back at the first Rose managed to muscle his second up towards the green but was still in the long stuff for his third. From there there's no chance of controlling the ball on the green and it runs out to 20 feet. Still, an outside chance for par after that drive is as much as he could ask for.

  • 12:54

    Rose couldn't save that par at the first and drops back to -12 and is now five behind.  

    Meanwhile, Drysdale has made it five birdies in a row at the 16th after stuffing a wedged approach in to tap in distance. He's now -15 for the tournament and just two behind.

  • 12:58

    -17: Rahm, Im
    -16: Hebert
    -15: Tanihara, Drysdale (16)
    -14: Quesne, Fleetwood (4)
    -13: Moynihan (F:64), Southgate (3), Fisher (1), Hend, Fox (2)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (17) -9 Harrington (13), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 13:00

    Paul Dunne brings to an end a disappointing weekend with a final round 71 to add to his Saturday 74 after being -8 and just five off the lead after two rounds.  

    The 24-year-old Greystones man now has just the Scottish Open next week to claim a place in the British Open. There are three qualifying spots up for grabs at Dundonald, as there are here today.

  • 13:06

    Benjamin Hebert and Hideto Tanihara have just teed off at the first and the final pairing of Daniel Im and Jon Rahm have arrived, ready for their 1.10pm tee time.

    The rain is becoming heavier now and conditions are going to get even tricker.

    That's not the case for Drysdale though. He's found another birdie at the 17th - that's six in a row now! He's up to -16 and looking for a birdie at the last to post a 63 and -17. If he does that and the weather really takes a turn you just never know...

  • 13:10

    -17: Rahm, Im
    -16: Hebert, Drysdale (17)
    -15: Tanihara
    -14: Quesne (1), Fleetwood (5), Southgate (4)
    -13: Moynihan (F:64), Fisher (2), Hend (1), Fox (3), Ramsay (4)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (14), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 13:10
  • 13:12

    The final group is underway!

    Im, who is considerably shorter takes driver and finds the fairway.

    Rahm, surprisingly given the fact that most players have taken an iron off this tee, opts for the driver as well and finds the first cut on the left. Position A for attacking the back right pin.

  • 13:18

    A good up and down from Rose at the fourth keeps him at -12 and five behind. It's been far from the quick start he would have wanted today and he needs birdies quick.

    Back at the first Im has found the middle of the green with his approach, leaving 30 feet for birdie. Rahm's effort is straight down the pin and stops up about 15 feet away.

  • 13:22

    Im lags his birdie putt up to a few feet and taps in for a nice nerve-settling par for the American. That'll be more than welcome for him.

    Rahm's effort looks in all the way but catches the left lip and stays out. That's a pair of pars for the last group at the first.

    -17: Rahm (1), Im (1)
    -16: Hebert (1), Drysdale (17)
    -15: Tanihara (1)
    -14: Quesne (2), Fleetwood (6), Southgate (4)
    -13: Moynihan (F:64), Hend (2), Fox (4), Ramsay (6)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (15), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 13:25

    At the final hole Drysdale has found the middle of the green and will have 30 feet for a seventh birdie in a row, a 63 and the clubhouse lead at -17.

    Up at the par five fifth Rose has found the front fringe in two and will expect to get up and down from there for his opening birdie of the day.

  • 13:27


    What a round from the Scot! He rolls his 30 foot birdie putt at the last right into the centre for his seventh birdie in a row and a stunning round of 63 to post -17! Incredible stuff, that's a back nine of 29!

  • 13:30

    In other news, 14-year-old Atthaya Thitikul has just become the youngest winner ever of a professional golf event by taking the title at the Ladies European Thailand Championship on the Ladies European Tour. Fourteen. 14. One four. Get your head around that one.

    That's going to be some 'What I Did During The Summer' essay when she returns to school.

  • 13:30
  • 13:32

    Tommy Fleetwood moves to within two shots!

    A successful two-putt birdie at the par five seventh has the hottest man in golf at the moment up to tied-5th and just two off the lead.

    Meanwhile, there are problems for Rahm at the second. After hooking his tee shot left into the heavy rough he could only punch forward to short of the green. From there his pitch skids on its first bounce and rolls out to 15 feet. That's to save par.

    No such trouble for Im who has found the green in two and faces 20 feet for birdie.

  • 13:33
    Justin Rose has finally got off the mark at the fifth by two-putting that long eagle attempt at the fifth. He's now back to -13 and within four.
  • 13:35

    What a par save from Jon Rahm!

    His 15 foot par putt looks for all the world as if it doesn't have the legs to reach the final but, with the very last ounce of its breath, it falls over the lip and ensures that he stays in the lead.

    And it's only drysdale he's tied with now after a three-putt bogey from Im. His first effort was particularly poor, coming up six feet short and his second attempt was even worse, not even touching the hole as it missed. Nervy.

  • 13:36

    -17: Rahm (2), Drysdale (F:63)
    -16: Hebert (3), Im (2)
    -15: Tanihara (3), Fleetwood (7)
    -14: Quesne (3), Southgate (6)
    -13: Moynihan (F:64), Matsuyama (13), Fox (5), Ramsay (6), Chesters (13), Rose (4)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -10 Harrington (16), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 13:39

    As you can see there, a birdie for Harrington at the 16th has him up to -10 and tied-16th. He's finding some good form coming up to his return to Birkdale, is the Dubliner.

    Hebert and Tanihara have both made solid but inconspicuous starts by going par, par, par and both remain -16 and -15 respectively.

    Meanwhile, Ramsay has just found his third birdie of the day at the seventh and is now up to -14.

  • 13:42
    It's been a nervy start from Im and it continues at the third. His iron shot to the par three is completely mishit and shoots right, leaving a tricky pitch. However, he's done well to chip it up to six feet. However, that's exactly the distance he missed for par on the last. That's what golf will do to you...
  • 13:44

    Rahm's tee shot stopped 15 feet short of the pin, leaving a makeable birdie putt up the hill. His ball is bang on line but stops a few inches short. That's a solid par on a tricky par three, though.

    As for Im, the putting touch which was so good over the first three days has deserted him. He misses another right-to-left six footer for par and is now back to -15 after just three holes.

  • 13:47

    Up at the sixth Rose's approach flew over the pin and somehow stuck on top of a huge ridge in the green. He trickles his putt from there down towards the hole but, somehow, it stops right on the edge. These greens have really slowed up now with the extra surface moisture as another squal comes across the old links.  

    At the par five seventh Southgate has found his third birdie of the day and is now up to -15. Just one behind him is Matsuyama who is now -5 for the day after birdieing the 14th.

  • 13:50

    There could be more trouble for Rahm after his tee shot at the fourth. It's shot right and well into the heavy rough.

    Im, who really needs to settle down now, cracks one down the middle. That will help.

    -17: Rahm (3), Drysdale (F:63)
    -16: Hebert (3)
    -15: Tanihara (3), Fleetwood (8), Im (3), Southgate (7)
    -14: Quesne (4), Ramsay (7), Matsuyama (14)
    -13: Moynihan (F:64), Fox (6), Chesters (13), Rose (5), Hanson (7)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -10 Harrington (16), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 13:53

    Tanihara gets to within one!

    After a gorgeous approach to a few feet at the fourth the Japanese rolls in his first birdie of the day.

    The rain is really, really coming down now as Rahm hacks his second shot out of the long rough and onto the fairway at the fourth. He faces a tough up and down now for birdie.

  • 13:57

    Rahm holes out for eagle at the par five fourth!

    Apologies, it slipped my mind that the fourth was a par five and not a par four. After hacking out of the rough, Rahm was left with a full 150 yards for his first and he's gone and holed it!

    It pitched 10 feet short of the pin, bounced up and spub left into the hole. What a shot from Rahm and he leads by two now!

  • 13:58
  • 14:01

    Well if we're looking back at key moments later on when Jon Rahm is lifting that Waterford Crystal trophy, it will be that shot that stands out.

    Im's third was also a lovely shot and spun up to six feet. However, his putter has gone stone cold and that one stays out. It's a par for Im and he's now four behind.

    -19: Rahm (4)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63)
    -16: Tanihara (4)
    -15: Hebert (4), Fleetwood (9), Im (4), Southgate (8)
    -14: Quesne (5), Ramsay (8), Matsuyama (15), Fox (7)
    -13: Moynihan (F:64), Chesters (14), Rose (6), Hanson (7), Dodt (12)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 14:03

    Rahm pounds his drive down the fairway at the fifth and will only have a wedge in for his approach. It looks like it may have rolled into an old sandy divot but even that won't affect him at the moment. He's freewheeling it nowand is pumped full of adrenaline.

    Im also finds the fairway but must be at least 50 or 60 yards behind Rahm.

    Over at the fifth Hebert has got the shot which he dropped at the fourth straight back with a rocket of a birdie putt from 30 feet which hits the back of the hole and drops.

    Tanihara's effort comes up short and he remains at -16 and is now three behind.

  • 14:10

    From that divot Rahm punches his approach shot up onto the green and it rolls out to 15 feet. The way he's putted this week and the mood he's in now you almost expect him to knock that in.

    Im's approach is good again and he will face a shorter birdie effort but his putter is just showing no signs of getting hot today.

    Over at the par five seventh, Rose found the green in two and has two-putted for birdie to get to -14.

  • 14:15

    It's certainly not the birdie-fest we saw yesterday and, unless someone really gets it going or Rahm begins to falter (not likely), it could turn into a cakewalk for the Spaniard.

    Just as I say that, Hebert has bogeyed the short par three sixth to slip back to -15, leaving Tanihara on his own three behind Rahm.

    And he remains three behind after the leader's birdie putt at the fifth came up inches short, right in the jaws. Im's luck on the greens, meanwhile, shows no signs of turning as his putt drifts right and misses.

    -19: Rahm (5)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63)
    -16: Tanihara (6)
    -15: Hebert (6), Fleetwood (10), Im (5), Southgate (9), Quesne (6)
    -14: Ramsay (9), Matsuyama (16), Fox (8), Rose (7)
    -13: Moynihan (F:64), Chesters (16), Hanson (9), Dodt (12)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 14:16
    A bogey at the last for Harrington completes a second consecutive round of 71 at the weekend and a total of -9. That's tied-41st as we stand. Not what he would have wanted over the weekend but still a decent performance in his build-up to The Open in two week's time.
  • 14:17
    Rahm and Im have both found the tiny sixth green with rahm the closer of the two, 20 feet short of the pin. Im pulled his slightly but it held on to the green, leaving him with about 30 feet for the two.
  • 14:18
  • 14:22

    It never fails to astonish how quickly even professional golfers can lose their touch on the greens. Im's birdie putt it good for pace but nowhere near on line and he has to settle for another par.

    Rahm's effort is also short and it's also a par three. As you were, as Liam Gallagher would say.

    It's lashing it down now. Welcome to the irish summer, lads.

    -19: Rahm (6)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63)
    -16: Tanihara (6)
    -15: Hebert (6), Fleetwood (11), Im (6), Southgate (9), Quesne (7)
    -14: Matsuyama (16), Fox (9), Rose (7)
    -13: Moynihan (F:64), Chesters (16), Ramsay (10), Dodt (13), Hanson (9)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 14:24

    At the seventh hole Tanihara has just hit the type of of shot that you (and I), all hit this morning. He's caught the ground a good six inches behind the ball, duffing it now more than 60 yards or so down the fairway. The less said about that, the better.

    But watch out, we might have a charge at the leader here. Fleetwood has rolled in his putt for a birdie two at the 12th to get to -16 and within three. With two consecutive par fives to come he could put himself in a seriously good position in no time.

  • 14:28

    And we have another player to -16!

    Last year's runner-up, Matthew Southgate, has just poured in his fourth birdie of the day at the 10th and is now alongside Fleetwood at -16. What a story it would be if he came from behind to win this year after those emotional scenes at the K Club last year.

    It's just the English pair at -16 now after Tanihara wound up with a bogey following that dreadful second shot.

  • 14:31

    Back to Rahm and Im at the par five seventh.  

    From the left rough Im's second shot bounds up to the front left of the green, leaving him with a relatively simple up and down for his first birdie of the day.

    From the opposite side Rahm gets a bit of a flyer out of the rough and his ball released out to the back of the green, leaving 60 feet or so for eagle.

  • 14:33
    At the par five 13th Fleetwood found the fairway with his drive but has pulled his second shot into the front left pot bunker. That could be very tricky, depending on how it's lying. You have to imagine he really needs to go birdie, eagle and then pick up another birdie or two before the finish if he's to have any chance.
  • 14:35

    A birdie at the 10th moves Ryan Fox to -2 for the day and -15 for the tournament, just four behind now.

  • 14:36

    Wow, Daniel Im.

    After an average enough chip up the green he's still left with five feet or so for birdie and he turns it straight left one again. He hasn't made a thing today after absolutely exemplary putting on each of the first three days.

  • 14:36

    Jon Rahm gets to -20 and leads by three!

    No such problems for the Spaniard as he rolls his long eagle effort four feet past and tidies up for birdie to go further ahead.

  • 14:40

    -20: Rahm (7)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63)
    -16: Tanihara (7), Fleetwood (13), Southgate (10), Hebert (7)
    -15: Fox (10), Im (7), Quesne (8)
    -14: Ramsay (12), Rose (9)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Chesters (17), Hanson (10)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 14:41
    It's only a par for Fleetwood at the par five 13th and that will feel like a dropped shot. He still has five holes to go to post a score but a birdie there was imperative, you have to feel.
  • 14:44
    In quick time, Hebert and Tanihara both run up bogeys at the eighth - the Frenchman's due to a long second and the Japanese due to a hooked tee shot. Both drop to -15, leaving Fleetwood and Southgate alone at -16.
  • 14:46

    Rahm is in the zone now and may just be about to go to -21.

    After creasing another drive down the eighth fairway he had 144 yards left. Make that 144 yards to six feet. Another smashing approach shot and it looks like nothing is fazing him at the moment.

    Im's effort is a little longer, leaving 12 feet or so for a birdie he so desperately needs.

  • 14:50

    Jon Rahm gets to -21!

    There is no stopping the 22-year-old now as his birdie putt at the eighth catches the left edge and drops.

    And, finally, Im notches up a first birdie of the day to get back to -16.

  • 14:52

    -21: Rahm (8)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63)
    -16: Fleetwood (13), Southgate (11), Im (8)
    -15: Fox (11), Ramsay (13), Quesne (8), Tanihara (8), Hebert (8)
    -14: Rose (10)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Jamieson (13)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 14:53
  • 14:56

    One of Rahm's challengers slips back as Southgate records his first bogey of the day at the 12th.

    Meanwhile, Fleetwood has followed the par at the par five 13th up with another at the par five 14th and his big chance is probably gone.

    Quesne, however, has found a birdie at the ninth and joins Fleetwood and Im at -16.

  • 14:59
  • 15:00
    That shot has got Rose to -15 after missing a host of birdie chances already in his round.
  • 15:00
    At the short par four ninth Rahm has launched a drive right down to greenside. A chip and a putt there and it's a front nine of 31, -22 and a hand and a half on the trophy.
  • 15:06

    Hold up, we have another player to -17!

    Richie Ramsay has followed his birdie at the 13th with an eagle at the 14th and joins Drysdale in a tie for second place, four behind Rahm. Ramsay is one of those playing for an Open place, dont's forget. The top three players not yet qualified who finish in the top 10 will secure spots at Royal Birkdale. Currently that's Drysdale, Ramsay and Quesne.

  • 15:07

    Jon Rahm goes to -22!

    That's a third birdie in a row for the big Spaniard, a front nine of 31 (-5) and a five shot lead with just nine to play.

    Game over?

  • 15:09

    -22: Rahm (9)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Ramsay (14)
    -16: Fleetwood (15), Southgate (113, Im (9), Quesne (10)
    -15: Fox (12), Tanihara (9), Rose (12)
    -14: Jamieson (14), Hebert (9)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Wall (17), Dodt (17)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 15:11
  • 15:11
    Richie Ramsay is quickly becoming Rahm's chief challenger and has just come within milimetres of going into second place on his own at the 15th. He has to settle for a par there and remains tied with Drysdale at -17.
  • 15:13
    Ryan Fox joins the logjam at -16 with a birdie at the par five 13th. That's five players tied for fourth now with Quesne, Fox and Im all battling it out for an Open spot, while Ramsay and Drysdale currently hold the other two.
  • 15:15

    I'm glad to report that the rain has abated. As has the wind. It's pretty much flat calm now and perfect scoring conditions. That begs the question of just how low Rahm can go.

    At the 10th Rahm outdrove Im by just the 57 yards. The American, though, has fired a lovely long iron approach in to 20 feet short of the pin, leaving a makeable putt up the hill.

    Rahm, expectedly, sticks it inside him with a wedge and has 15 feet to extend his lead even further.

  • 15:19

    Jon Rahm gets to -23!

    This is just relentless. Make that a fourth birdie in a row for Rahm and he is just tearing Portstewart to pieces. His 15 footer at the 10th is never anywhere else other than dead centre and with lovely pace.

    Im's effort comes up short. That's a good chance missed for him to move into that third Open spot. That's about the most exciting competition going on at the moment because it looks like Rahm is as good as home and hosed.

  • 15:21

    -23: Rahm (10)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Ramsay (15)
    -16: Fleetwood (15), Southgate (13), Im (10), Quesne (11), Fox (13)
    -15: Tanihara (10), Rose (12), Hebert (10)
    -14: Jamieson (15)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Dodt (17)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 15:24
    The big tie at -16 has just gained two more bodies as Hebert adds a second consecutive birdie at the 11th and Rose two putts for birdie at the 13th. Seven players now in a tie for fourth place and the race for those three Open spots is really heating up.
  • 15:28

    Richie Ramsay moves to -18!

    The Scot takes his place in second on his own with yet another birdie at the 16th. That lines him up for an Open spot and a cheque of over 600,000 euro if he can finish it off and remain in second on his own.

    At the 11th Rahm's tee shot found the right rough but he's forced his approach up onto the front of the green, leaving 40 feet for birdie. Surely the run comes to an end now?

  • 15:32

    And it does. He lags it up to a few inches and taps in for par to remain -23.

    Im, from half the distance after a lovely knocked down approach, still can't get his ball to find the bottom of the cup as it misses short and he remains at -16.

    -23: Rahm (11)
    -18: Ramsay (16)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Southgate (15)
    -16: Fleetwood (17), Im (11), Fox (14), Rose (13), Hebert (11)
    -15: Tanihara (10), Quesne (12)
    -14: Jamieson (16)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Hanson (15), Dredge (14), O Fisher (13)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 15:34

    As you can see there, Southgate made a good birdie two at the 163 yard par three 12th to join Drysdale and now Fox at -17 after the Kiwi birdied the par five 14th.

    The final pair have just teed off at the 12th and both have knocked good shots in to the back left pin. They'll both face about 15 feet for birdie, Rahm from behind the hole and Im from the left.

  • 15:38

    Big putt for Im!

    The American finally makes something of a decent length, finally giving a birdie putt a good rap up to the hole. That gets him into the tie for third at -17 and closer to one of the Open qualifying spots.

  • 15:39

    Uh, oh.

    We may have a rules debacle on the way. Word from the course is that officials are looking to speak with Rahm about how he replaced his marker on the par three sixth after moving it out of Im's line.

    More to follow. As it is, he remains -23 after his birdie putt slipped left at the 12th and he had to settle for a par.

  • 15:41

    Ramsay pulls further into second on his own at -19!

    Another gorgeous approach to the 17th is followed by another perfect putt and he's now within four of Rahm. With a possible penalty to come after officials speak with Rahm this may not be all over and done with just yet.

  • 15:45

    -23: Rahm (12)
    -19: Ramsay (17)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Southgate (15), Fox (15), Rose (14), Im (12)
    -16: Hebert (12), Quesne (13)
    -15: Tanihara (12), Fleetwood (F:68)
    -14: Jamieson (17), O Fisher (14)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Hanson (15), Dredge (15), Hend (13), Uihlein (F:70)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 15:46

    Okay, Rahm has cracked his drive at the par five 13th out to the right. It all depends on the lie there.

    Andy McPhee, rules official extraordinaire, is about to catch up with him so we will soon know what's going on.

  • 15:46
    He's going to be penalised here, I reckon.
  • 15:50

    It looks like it's going to be a penalty. And it's nothing but a completely innocent mistake.

    Rahm marked his ball orginally to the side of the ball because otherwise it would have been right on top of Im's. He then moved it one putterhead to the side. However, when he moved his mark back he replaced the ball in front of the marker and not to the side where the ball originally lay. That is very, very unfortunate and just a very simple mistake to make. It's a matter of milimetres between where the ball should have been and where he put it but the rule is the rule.

    We're still waiting for confirmation of whethere he has been penalised, it must be said.

  • 15:52
    Jon Rahm will not receive a penalty for incorrectly marking his ball.
  • 15:55

    Well I have to say, I have no idea how he has avoided penalty there.  

    The television evidence clearly shows him replacing the ball incorrectly, albeit minutely. However, he definitely did replace it incorrectly.

    But no penalty. Is that because there was no intention to gain an advantage (as there clearly wasn't)?

    Does that mean that we have just witnessed common sense prevailing in a rules debacle during a professional golf tournament?

    Surely not!

  • 15:57

    I can confirm, however, that we have just witnessed common sense prevailing. Well, they say there's a first for everything but when it comes to common sense and rulings in golf I thought that saying didn't apply.

    Anyway, back to the golf we go and Rahm now leads by five again. That's because Ramsay could only manage a bogey at his last hole to sign for a 65 and take the clubhouse lead (and almost certainly an spot at the Open) at -18.

  • 15:59
  • 16:04

    Thankfully that ruling was cleared up nice and quick and we didn't have a Dustin Johnson at the US Open-esque situation.

    What we do have is a power lip out on Rahm's birdie putt however. He has to settle for par at the par five 13th there and bring an end to an eventful hole.

    Meanwhile, Im has joined Ramsay at -18 with a birdie at the par five. Great battling from the American and he breaks free of the big pack at -17.

    -23: Rahm (13)
    -18: Ramsay (F:65), Im (13)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Southgate (17), Fox (17), Rose (16), Tanihara (13), Quesne (15)
    -15: Fleetwood (F:68), Fisher (16), Hebert (13)
    -14: Dredge (17)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Uihlein (F:70), Hanson (17), Hend (15)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 16:07

    I really hope Lexi Thompson hasn't been watching today. Can't imagine she'd be too happy with how that was dealt with, considering how ridiculous the penalty she received at the ANA Inspiration was. If you need to refresh the memory on that one, you can do so below.

    Golf shoots itself in the foot again over Lexi Thompson rules fiasco

  • 16:08
  • 16:10

    We have a three-way tie in second now at -18!

    Matthew Southgate has picked up a very rare birdie at the final hole to shoot a 66 and finish alongside Ramsay as clubhouse leader. Shades of those emotional scenes at the 18th in the K Club last year!

  • 16:13

    Rules official Andy McPhee has told Sky Sports that there was no penalty as he felt Rahm "made a reasonable judgement" in replacing his ball.  

    All hail common sense.

    It also turns out that it was a number of emails in from TV viewers which alerted the rules officials.

    How angry those people will be that they've been denied their sad little slice of satisfaction in getting a player penalised, simply because the incident was viewable on the television. These people need to be ignored.

  • 16:15
    At the par five 14th Rahm's drive has found the right rough but he's in no trouble. Im has found the fairway and will have a good look at the green for his second.
  • 16:17

    Yet another birdie putt slips past the edge for Rose at the 17th. It just hasn't been his day on the greens today and he remains at -17. He could easily be -20 or more if the putts were dropping.

    And hats off to Benjamin hebert who has gone birdie, birdie at the 14th and 15th to join the logjam at -17 and keep himself in the picture for an Open place.

  • 16:18

    Jon Rahm gets to -25 with an eagle at the 14th!

    What a putt! After muscling his second shot up to 35 feet he's poured the putt for a three right into the middle of the green, gives it a massive fist pump and must surely now have the title wrapped up. Incredible stuff, he's -8 for the day!

  • 16:22

    A birdie for Quesne at the 17th sees him join the group at -18!

    That means that, as it stands, he, Ramsay and Im (who could only par the 14th) will pick up those Open spots. There's still holes to play, however.

    -25: Rahm (14)
    -18: Ramsay (F:65), Im (14), Quesne (17) Southgate (F:66)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Fox (F:68), Rose (17), Tanihara (15), Hebert (16)
    -15: Fleetwood (F:68), Fisher (17)
    -14: Dredge (F:70)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Jamieson (F:70) Uihlein (F:70), Hanson (F:70), Hend (16)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 16:23
    John doe The simple fact of "intent" separating the two incidents. One improved ball position due to indentation on purpose the other didn't.
  • 16:25
    Have to say I don't agree with that. Thompson's replacement of the ball didn't look to be done on purpose, I thought but it's one of those that's impossible to say for definite. The fact is that players shouldn't be treated differently in these situations simply because they are on the television - therefore giving people at home the power to analyse the situation. Viewers should be ignored as it is not a level playing field if they're listened to.
  • 16:29

    Rahm's tee shot at the par three 15th is a good 30 feet too long, fuelled purely by adrenaline after that eagle at the last. From there he two putts for par. That's all he needs to do now.

    Im's birdie putt slips past yet again.

    Just a correction on earlier: that was in fact a par for Quesne at the 17th so he remains in the big tie for fifth at -17.

    -25: Rahm (15)
    -18: Ramsay (F:65), Im (15), Southgate (F:66)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Fox (F:68), Rose (F:68), Hebert (16), Quesne (17)
    -16: Tanihara (16)
    -15: Fleetwood (F:68), Fisher (F:70)
    -14: Dredge (F:70)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Jamieson (F:70) Uihlein (F:70), Hanson (F:70)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 16:30
  • 16:33

    Just to put what Rahm is doing into context:

    He's been a pro for barely over a year.

    He's won a PGA Tour event already - and Torry Pines at that, so against a top quality field.

    He took world number one Dustin Johnson all the way down the stretch at the WGC in Mexico.

    He was only beaten on the final hole by Johnson in the final of the WGC Dell Matchplay.

    He will go to number eight in the world with this win.

    He ate a rare t-bone steak for dinner four days in a row this week.

    Amazing stuff.

  • 16:34

    After driving it left at the 16th Rahm was faced with a tough lie in the fescue and on an upslope. Using his immense strength he's managed to muscle it up to the front of the green. That's absolutely fine from there - he'll have a long birdie putt but it's only pars that he needs now.

    Im, meanwhile, sticks his approach in to 20 feet. If he can hole that he'll go into second on his own and go a long, long way to securing an Open spot.

  • 16:39
    Huge blow for Hebert at the 17th as he fails to get up and down to save a par. That bogey drops him back to -16 and as good as out of contention for that Open place.
  • 16:41

    Speaking of bogeys, Rahm has just made his first of the day.

    His long birdie putt came up a good 15 feet short and he failed to hole out from there, meaning he drops back to -24 and his lead is "only" six.

    -24: Rahm (16)
    -18: Ramsay (F:65), Im (16), Southgate (F:66)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Fox (F:68), Rose (F:68)
    -16: Hebert (17), Quesne (F:70)
    -15: Fleetwood (F:68), Fisher (F:70), Tanihara (17)
    -14: Dredge (F:70)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Jamieson (F:70) Uihlein (F:70), Hanson (F:70)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 16:44

    Im also misses with yet another birdie putt at the 16th and remains -18. Two pars for him and he'll secure an Open place so there's still huge stakes, and huge money, for the American to play for in these last two holes.

    At the 17th Rahm hooks his tee shot left into the gallery, fails to shout "fore" (something he has not done once this week and he needs to start doing) and slings his club on the ground.

    Calm down mate, you're about to win over a million quid and go to number eight in the world. Life could be worse.

  • 16:46
  • 16:46
    There's the Rahm rules incident for you all to see.
  • 16:48

    From that left rough Rahm throws all of his immense weight and clubhead speed at the ball. It flies out into orbit and releases to six feet. What a shot. What a player.

    Im safely finds the green. Two putts and a par at the last and he's going to Birkdale.  

  • 16:48
  • 16:52

    Drops a shot, gets it straight back.

    Cool as you like, Rahm rams that birdie putt right into the ball of the hole and gets back to -25.

    Im two putts for par and will go up the last needing a par to secure an Open spot. A birdie would give him second on his own and over 600,000 euro.

  • 16:53

    -25: Rahm (17)
    -18: Ramsay (F:65), Im (17), Southgate (F:66)
    -17: Drysdale (F:63), Fox (F:68), Rose (F:68)
    -16: Hebert (F:72), Quesne (F:70)
    -15: Fleetwood (F:68), Fisher (F:70), Tanihara (F:72)
    -14: Dredge (F:70)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Jamieson (F:70) Uihlein (F:70), Hanson (F:70)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)

  • 16:54
  • 16:56

    Rahm cracks his drive down the middle.  

    Im pulls his left into the bunker and gives a good strong f-bomb. It's been a frustrating day for him, alright.

  • 17:00

    Still with 224 yards to go at the 18th, Rahm powers his approach up to just short of the green, leaving a chip and putt up the green for a sensational final round of 64 and a total of -25.

    Im can only take a short iron out of the bunker and will still have 149 yards for his third.

  • 17:03
    Im punches his approach up to 25 feet. That's for a share of second place. That's for a place at The Open in Royal Birkdale in two week's time. Miss it and David Drysdale will be on his way to the Southport links. Put simply: that putt for the American is as just as important as Rahm's.
  • 17:05

    And Rahm's will only be a tap-in.

    This man is the absolute real deal. With the huge galleries surrounding every side of the green, he pitches a beautiful shot up to holeside, almost sinking it for birdie. This Spaniard's talent really cannot be overstated.

    Okay, can Im claim a place at Birkdale?

  • 17:06

    No he cannot. That's exactly how his whole round has gone.

    Im finishes in a tie for fourth at -17 and David Drysdale, Richie Ramsay and Ryan Fiox claim the four Open spots.

  • 17:06
  • 17:08

    Well, perhaps it was nerves or just a lack of concentration, but he actually missed his par putt with a power lip out on the left edge.

    Not to worry, it's a closing 65 for the 22-year-old, a total of -24 and the Irish Open title - his first on the European Tour.

  • 17:09
  • 17:17

    So, that's that for this year's Irish Open. Portstewart has put on a magnificent show and broadcast all of its beauty to the world. A world class course deserved a world class winner and it certainly got that. Jon Rahm is now the eighth best player in the world despite being a pro for just over a year and he follows in the footsteps of his Spanish idols Sergio Garcia, Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal in putting his name on the Irish Open trophy. Don't overestimate just what this man can do in his career. There will be majors aplenty, surely the world number one spot and just imagine him at the Ryder Cup...

    Magical stuff. The world is Jon Rahm's oyster.

    Speaking of 22-year-old's it was a magnificent final round of 63 from Gavin Moynihan today and will give him a paycheque of 86,000 euro and a tied-14th place. That's huge for the Donabate man and let's hope he can kick on from there and secure full European Tour playing privileges sooner rather than later.

    It was a good final round as well for Shane Lowry who may just be finding form at the perfect time with the Open just around the corner in a fortnight's time.

    As for Padraig Harrington? Well, I certainly wouldn't be putting it past him to go back to Birkdale and claim a tird claret jug, nine years after the last.

    As for Paul Dunne, next week's Scottish Open is make-or-break with regards Birkdale. He needs to finish in the top 10 at Dundonald to have a chance of repeating the Open heroics he displayed at St Andrews in 2015.

    That's it from me for today. Be sure to stay tuned for Philip Reid's end of day report and also be sure to tune in in two week's time for our full live coverage of the Open.

    Thanks for reading, bye!

    -24: Rahm (F:65)
    -18: Ramsay (F:65), Southgate (F:66)
    -17: Im (F:72), Drysdale (F:63), Fox (F:68), Rose (F:68)
    -16: Hebert (F:72), Quesne (F:70)
    -15: Fleetwood (F:68), Fisher (F:70), Tanihara (F:72)
    -14: Dredge (F:70)
    -13: Ormsby (F:68), Matsuyama (F:68), Moynihan (F:64), Jamieson (F:70) Uihlein (F:70), Hanson (F:70)
    Irish scores: -13 Moynihan (F:64), -12 Lowry (F:66), -11 Hoey (F:67) -9 Harrington (F:71), -7 Dunne (F:71)