Rock doesn & t; role for Smith in Portrush

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by Justin Falconer at Royal Portrush

Cam Smith on day three of the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

It was a striking show that could have produced anything for Cam Smith on Saturday.

But the last Aussie on The Open couldn't finish the job with the flatstick, Smith scoring 32 putts on a frustrating afternoon in Royal Portrush.

An even-par-71 was probably the highest number the Queenslander could have signed for in the third round after 14 greens in regulation only led to a series of mid-range birdie attempts that refused to expire

A potential career-defining 63 from Shane Lowry earned him a four-shot buffer over the field at 16-under and places the Irishman 10 strokes away from Smith, who is still 6-under.

It was a relapse to Thursday for World No.42, Smith also left the track on the first day and reported a lack of production with the putter.

"It was very up and down. I felt like I was beating it all week," said Smith.

"I hit many good putts, some were short, some were over the edge. It was just one of those days."

"I could not get the pace of the greens today, it felt like everything from 15 to 20 feet made everything a foot or two short.

"I felt like I hit good solid putts, they just didn't get there."

Smith earned himself a birdie on every front nine hole after missing only one fairway, but he could only pick up one shot in the par-5 second, a shot he immediately gave a three-putt on the next hole .

He finished two inches behind the 30-foot-four hole before a similar result of half the distance at five.

A brilliant driver from the deck of the fairway at seven ended in a two-putt par and set the gap at nine from above to see Smith make the turn in even par.

His first bogey of the week on the back nine came after a missed fairway at 10 and the fireworks started from there

Smith & # 39; s tee shot on the par-5 12th sieved road on the left, but an incredible 6-iron from the tall grass rose up along the false front and barely reached a foot from the hole.

He cleaned up for the eagle and the Queenslander finally saw a drop after a sweet blow from 15 feet on the par-3 13th

Smith jumped to 8-under for the tournament, at that moment only four strokes from leader Lowry, and suddenly the buoys seemed to burst loose

"When I finished the 12th tee, I told my caddy, let's try to get 8-under, three more," said Smith.

"And then it happened so quickly, it was almost like we had to adjust."

Smith & # 39; s approach to the par-4 14th was a rare casual error, but it cost him a lot.

Out of a tricky lie, Smith's bunker shot sailed across the grass wall in front of him and across the other side of the green and he erected a paralyzing, double bogeyman.

"At 14, I hit a pretty tough ride and then a shot in the green that really wasn't that bad," said Smith.

"I got a bit of a lie and ended up making six. That is sometimes playing golf."

At that time, Lowry was startled to 13-under and two more missed mid-rangers for birdie at 15 and 17 – as well as a near-chip-in at 16 – could have broken the hope of the Australian.

But with top five finishes born from Sunday's cost at the US Open (2015) and The Masters (2018) on his resume, Smith will fully commit to a strong finish to his 2019 major season of tomorrow.

"I said that if we made it that way tomorrow, I think the circumstances would be pretty bad tomorrow, if we handle it that way and a few of the putts go in, we'll be right there," said Smith.

"I don't feel that I have put myself out of the tournament, I just feel it could have been better."

Smith gets the American sensation Xander Schauffele in the final round of tomorrow and starts at 12:27 PM local time (9:00 PM EST).

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