Harringtons 64 Closes Gap

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Graeme McDowell carded a 3-under 69 on Saturday to maintain a three-shot advantage after the third round of the Linde German's Masters. McDowell, who is seeking his second victory of the season, finished with a 54-hole total of 14-under-par 202.
 
Padraig Harrington bounced back from a poor second round with a blistering 64 on Saturday. The Irishman moved into second place at 11-under-par 205 while Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin took third at 10-under-par 206. Harrington's Ryder Cup teammate Paul Casey shot a 67 to finish five shots off the pace at 9-under-par 207.
 
McDowell was in control throughout his round at Gut Lrchenhof and looked to be in position to take an even greater lead heading into Sunday. After dangerous weather delayed the start of the third round, ultimately forcing players to go off of split tees, McDowell played his approach shot to 9 feet at the opening hole and sank the putt for a quick birdie.
 
He converted a 10-foot putt for a birdie at the third and added a birdie at the seventh to reach minus-14. After playing partner Nick O'Hern bogeyed the ninth, McDowell saw his lead increase to five with the back nine left to play.
 
McDowell distanced himself even further after his second shot to the par-4 10th stopped within 15 feet of the hole. He kept on cruising and chipped his third at the par-5 13th to a foot for a tap-in birdie to remain comfortable ahead of his challengers.
 
Trouble caught up with McDowell on the closing holes, however. He missed the green en route to a bogey at the par-3 16th and followed that up with a bogey at the 17th. McDowell regained some control with a par at the last to find himself in the same position he was at the start of the round.
 
'It wasn't a particularly easy finish to the golf course today,' said the 25- year-old from Northern Ireland. 'To throw in two bogeys at the end was disappointing but I was in control of my game all day long and a 69 is not all that bad.'
 
Harrington held the opening-round lead but struggled to a 75 on Friday. The Irishman made a move early on Saturday to get back into contention, starting with back-to-back birdies from the second.
 
Harrington knocked his approach inside 10 feet for a birdie at the fifth and birdied the very next hole to keep the run going. At the par-5 seventh, Harrington chose to lay up before spinning his third shot from the fairway back into the hole for an eagle.
 
The 33-year-old missed a short birdie try at the ninth and cooled off from that point on until a birdie at the 15th lifted him to 10 under. Harrington then drained a 14-foot putt at the par-4 17th to stay within striking distance of McDowell.
 
'I went out and got the breaks early on, hit some shots close and holed the putts and that is always good after yesterday where I got no momentum at all,' said Harrington. 'Obviously I am back in contention again but Graeme is a great front runner, every time he is up there he keeps going and today was superb play by him, but now I will focus on tomorrow.'
 
O'Hern had gotten within four of McDowell until a double bogey at the last left him at 8-under-par 208 after a round of 72. O'Hern was joined by Alex Cejka in a tie for fifth. Richard Green was one shot further back at 7-under-par 209.
 
Simon Khan, who earned his first European Tour victory at the Wales Open earlier this year, fired a 66 to finish nine shots back at 5-under-par 211.
 
Darren Clarke, Thomas Levet, Jose Maria Olazabal, Brian Davis and Robert-Jan Derksen tied for ninth at 4-under-par 212.
 
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