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Irish Open Saturday: All you need to know as Van Rooyen takes commanding lead and Irish challenge ends at Ballyliffin

Erik van Rooyen of South Africa bumps fists with his caddie during another impressive day at the Irish Open.
Erik van Rooyen of South Africa bumps fists with his caddie during another impressive day at the Irish Open.
Rory McIlroy had an impressive day tee to green while putting again proved his downfall on Saturday at the Irish Open.
Erik van Rooyen of South Africa hits his tee-shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club on July 7, 2018 in Donegal, Ireland. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy needs a low round to get himself back into the reckoning at the Irish Open.
Graeme McDowell on the 8th tee during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club.

By Gareth Hanna and Adam McKendry

If the Irish challenge faded on Friday at Ballyliffin, it ended altogether on Saturday as none of the five locals to make the cut could stage anything of a surge up the leaderboard, which is topped by South African Erik Van Rooyen.

He added a six under par 66 to his Friday 65 to reach -14 for the week and sit four clear of tied 2nd Ryan Fox and Joakim Lagergren - both former NI Open winners.

Meanwhile, none of the Irish players could break par on day three.

Rory McIlroy could only tread water with a level par round to stay -1 despite another very impressive tee-to-green display, booming out several drivse past the 350 yard mark to put a dent in the Glashedy Links. The course got its own back on the greens, which again eluded the Holywood golfer, who raised his arms in almost sarcastic celebration when a birdie putt finally dropped on 16.

Graeme McDowell played the first eight holes in -2 and the last ten in +3 to drop to +1 for the week, alongside Paul Dunne who shot level par.

Simon Thornton dropped back to level for the week with a +2 round of 74, bogeying the last for extra frustration.

Alongside him is Shane Lowry, who could only card a round of two over par 74 despite four birdies.

Keep up to date and get our take on Saturday at Ballyliffin right here:

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