Anirban Lahiri today slipped to Tied-58th after the third round with a four-over 76, while SSP Chawrasia missed the cut at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open here. Ian Poulter moved into pole position alongside fellow Englishman Callum Shinkwin and Australian Andrew Dodt at nine-under on a difficult cold and wet day. The tee times were advanced to make allowance for the weather which was expected to deteriorate. And they did on the dot at just past 4.30 pm. Lahiri, who played in the morning, was not ready to blame the weather. The Indian golfer said after the initial holes he just could not get his game going. At three-over for 54 holes, he is now Tied-58th, but was still looking to take some positives from the week that ends tomorrow. Late last evening, Chawrasia missed the cut after being caught in severe rain and strong winds over the last seven holes. Chawrasia was still just one-over after 13th but instead of holing birdies he went the other way with three bogeys from 14th to 16th to end his campaign. Lahiri said, "The positives I am taking so far are what I have already been talking about - getting to play four rounds before the Open in Links conditions; getting to experience the rain and the wind in a manner I have not done over almost a year." "I did start well with a birdie on third, but I never really settled down. And from somewhere around the seventh, my hitting was off. Two big errors came on 10th and 14th. A three-putt gave me a double at 10th and on 14th I hit right and took an unplayable and then hit it right back there, so that was a disaster - a seven on a par-5. There were quite a few other misses for bogeys. If I dig for positives, maybe the birdie on the last left me with a better taste till tomorrow," he added. Poulter's third round 71 also put him in a great frame of mind before the Open next week at Birkdale, the very venue that saw him finish second to Padraig Harrington, who slipped badly today with a 79 as did another overnight leader Alexander Knappe (76). Knappe is Tied-8th and Harrington T-23. The pick of the day was Andy Sullivan, whose 67 had six birdies, but the sequence of bogey-double bogey-eagle from 16th to 18th presented an adventurous journey as he zoomed from T-31 to fourth. Poulter's got his PGA card when a calculation error was spotted. He then he made the Open through the Qualifiers two weeks back.
He was interestingly second to Padraig Harrington, when The Open was last held at Royal Birkdale in 2008. Now he looks like having another shot at the elusive Major. Rickie Fowler (74) and Matt Kuchar (73) are with Knappe at T-8th. Poulter said, "I'm in a good mental state. Obviously a few months back, things were pretty difficult but life's a little bit easier right now and obviously I'm enjoying my golf. I feel good, I feel great, I feel excited to be in this position, and obviously I relish the opportunity tomorrow to try to put my hand on that trophy. "I just need to finish one in front of everyone else. Obviously I'm a leaderboard watcher. I will go out there and do the best I can. I'll be aggressive to the pin locations that I feel are accessible, and just go and have some fun." Also late on Friday, Rory McIlroy's preparation were in a shambles as he missed the second straight cut after the Irish Open, which he hosted. When the second round started, he seemed to be making amends for his first round 74 with three birdies in first seven holes. But then the birdies dried up. Worse, he double bogeyed the par-4 13th for second day running and was then unable to produce a birdie over next five holes. He ended with a one-under 71 for a total of one-over 145 and the cut fell at one-under and that meant even his seven- foot birdie putt miss on 18th may not have saved him.