MX23RW : Saturday, October 20 07:11:39

David Howell finds form to lead Irish Open

Howell finds form to lead Irish Open
© PA Photos
David Howell hits a round of 64 to lead the Irish Open going into the final day's play at Killarney.

Englishman David Howell has hit a round of 64 to lead the Irish Open going into the final day's play at Killarney.

The two-time Ryder Cup winner had begun the day on four-under but some excellent putting helped him finish the session on 11-under, sharing the top of the leaderboard with Australian Richard Green and fellow Englishman Simon Dyson.

The 36-year-old's playing partner, Rory McIlroy, fared less well, posting a round of 72 to put him eight shots behind the lead.

"I'm flying now - I must be one of the hottest players in the world," joked Howell.

"I've not been in the best of form, so I was intrigued how I was going to be playing with Rory. He's the star of world golf.

"But there were no nerves and I think I was inspired by the atmosphere. The crowds were amazing," he added.

Despite the eight-shot deficit, US Open winner McIlroy was positive about his performance.

"It was not a great start, but I got it together at the end and one over is not too bad considering how I played at the start," the 22-year-old said.

"At this tournament you're trying so hard to play well for not just yourself, but for everyone else. Sometimes you can just find yourself trying a little too hard and pushing a bit too much."

Fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell joined McIlroy on three-under.

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