Lawlor mixed six birdies with four bogeys on the Earth Course as he seeks his third victory of the five-event series, having previously won the first two tournaments of 2021, the EDGA Cazoo Open at the Celtic Manor Resort and the ISPS HANDA World Disability Invitational at Massereene and Galgorm.
His birdies came on the second, third, seventh, ninth, 13th and 14th holes and while he pushed his drive into the water on the last, the 24 year old used some careful course management to limit the damage to only a bogey, meaning he will take two-stroke advantage over Englishman Mike Browne and Canadian Kurtis Barkley going into Saturday’s final round.
“I would have taken that score this morning, big time,” said Lawlor, who has Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome, a disability characterised by a shorter stature and shorter limbs. “To shoot two under par, 70, on that course, I’m really delighted with it.
“I hit the ball well all day and holed a lot of nice putts. I made a few mistakes, but that score gives me a nice stepping stone going into tomorrow.
“It was a hard test out there. The pins were really tough and it was hard to generate any spin. The greens were receptive but it’s one hop and stop so it’s hard to get it to rip back. You have to hit it in the right places and there are some bunkers which can catch you out, but it is a pleasure to be here.
“My putting was a big positive today. There wasn’t really anything wrong with my game today. I had one three putt, but there was the only lack of concentration I had all day. Then the drive on 18 was maybe down to a few nerves going down the last at three under. But I justified making bogey to keep a two shot lead for tomorrow.”
The eight player field resumes competition at 7am on Saturday, with Italian Tommaso Perrino and World Number One Kipp Popert of England three and six shots back respectively in third and fourth position. Fans can follow the action via the European Tour’s social media, European Tour.com and via the World Feed Broadcast, alongside coverage of the European Tour’s season-ending Rolex Series event, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
“These guys are unbelievable,” he said. “The eight guys out here are super talented. It’s fun to show the world what we can do. In the coming weeks and years we can showcase this game more and more and get more people into the game. That’s what we are striving for.”