Robert Rock welcomed the prospect to get his season “back on track” after lighting up Lahinch with a exceptional 10-under 60 on day three of the Dubai Obligation Free Irish Open.
Rock stormed into the outright lead with a grandstand end to his third spherical, holing a monster 65-foot putt for his fifth consecutive birdie on the 17th inexperienced, which left him needing an eagle on the final to emulate Oliver Fisher’s first 59 in European Tour historical past final 12 months.
However, after discovering the entrance left-fringe together with his second to the par-five 18th, Rock’s 30-foot putt to interrupt 60 missed on the low aspect, though his career-best effort was sufficient to offer him a one-shot lead over Eddie Pepperell and Rafa Cabrera Bello heading into the ultimate spherical.
“It was a fun day,” Rock stated, who was overwhelmed in a play-off on the Irish Open by Shane Lowry 10 years in the past, however the Englishman nonetheless pocketed the winner’s prize of half one million euros on account of Lowry being an newbie on the time.
“I made numerous birdies early on, and I assume that helped to see that they have been attainable. After which I began placing actually good.
“The end was a bit a lot, actually. I had a extremely lengthy putt on 17 after which when I was strolling to the second shot on 18, I checked out what par was, as a result of I had type of forgot and realised it was an eagle for 59.
“Alternatives to do this do not come hardly in any respect, actually, and that is the primary likelihood I’ve needed to do it. It is disappointing to not, however 60 is a superb rating, and it is my finest rating. I’ve performed garbage thus far this 12 months, so simply delighted to play higher!
“It’s a good alternative to get my season again on observe, to attempt to qualify for The Open, and possibly have an opportunity to win a event once more, which might be pretty as a result of it has been an extended whereas.
“It has been a little bit of a troublesome season on the course, and I do not appear to have actually obtained a lot out of my rounds. Some days I’ve performed nicely, I’ve scored badly after which the times when I’ve performed badly, I’ve been chipping and placing nice and simply taking pictures common scores on a regular basis.
“I’d say this was sudden, however good. You must hit good pictures right here, and it checks your driving and your iron play. It is an amazing event. It is a event that I’ve all the time stated I’d like to win. Perhaps I have one other likelihood to do it.
“Any time you’ve got a chance to win a tournament like The Irish Open or Scottish Open, it really means something, so it gives me a little extra focus. It’s hard to say it makes you play great because you can’t force that, but it’s a great tournament and the people are amazing.”
Rock additionally revealed he nonetheless harboured the odd remorse at not getting the higher of Lowry at County Louth in 2009, though he lastly made his European Tour breakthrough on the Italian Open two years later and doubled his silverware depend with an outstanding one-shot win over Rory McIlroy in Abu Dhabi in early 2012.
“That tournament, 10 years ago, it’s still amazing when you look back,” Rock added. “Shane did unbelievable over that weekend. I performed with him all weekend, he deserved to win, and he is gone on to be a high-quality participant.
“That was my first actual likelihood of profitable a event, and I have a few regrets from that, which just a few choices you make right here and there that you simply in all probability would do totally different now. However the Irish Open has been nice to me. It is proper up with ones that I’d like to win.”