Rory McIlroy leads Masters champion Danny Willett by three shots after ending a weather-interrupted day three of the Irish Open on nine under par.Both players had completed 15 holes of their third rounds at the K Club when the action was suspended at 8:30 pm because of poor light and conditions.
Play had been halted twice earlier in the day because of a risk of lightning and thunderstorms.
McIlroy is chasing his first Irish Open win and a first victory of the season.The world number three has secured six top-10 finishes so far this season, but is now in pole position for glory at his home tournament, which is supported by his charity, The Rory Foundation.
Trailing by one after day two, the Northern Irishman found himself at the head of the field after holing for a birdie at the fourth, as overnight leaders Willett and Marc Warren both faltered.Four-time major winner McIlroy led Willett by two shots when proceedings were delayed for the first time at 3:25 pm, and extended his advantage on the resumption of play almost two and a half hours later, birding the 10th.
The third round was suspended again after just 40 minutes of play at 6:25, before re-commencing at 7:55 for a final 35 minutes out on the course.
McIlroy ended the day as the only player in the field without a bogey on his card, with nearest challenger Willett dropping three shots in his 15 holes, while carding a single birdie at the fourth.Scotland’s Russell Knox is the clubhouse leader on five under after shooting a two-under 70, with South African Richard Sterne also five under after 14 holes.
The third round will re-start at 7:30 am on Sunday, before the final round gets underway.