Dunne just a round away from vic­tory

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - SPORT - By Phil Casey

PAUL DUNNE still leads the way in the Span­ish Open but will face stiff com­pe­ti­tion on the fi­nal day from Na­cho Elvira and world No4 Jon Rahm af­ter the two home favourites each carded six un­der on day three.

Dunne has topped the leader­board since the open­ing day but saw his ad­van­tage nar­rowed from four shots to one over Elvira af­ter fin­ish­ing the day with a four-un­der 68, his poor­est show­ing so far at the Cen­tro Na­cional de Golf in Madrid.

The Grey­stones man is 17 un­der, one clear of Elvira and two ahead of Rahm and Swede Hen­ric Sture­hed, in joint­third, while Aus­tralian Brett Rum­ford is next at 14 un­der.

Hav­ing be­gun the day three strokes clear, Dunne opened up with four pars be­fore a hat-trick of birdies from the fifth moved him two clear of home favourite Rahm and Sture­hed and a gain at the 12th put him fur­ther ahead.

He handed that stroke back at the penul­ti­mate hole to re­main at 16 un­der af­ter he found the water but the 25-year-old fin­ished with a flour­ish with his fifth birdie – the ball one rev­o­lu­tion from drop­ping in for ea­gle – to re­main on course for his second Euro­pean Tour ti­tle.

‘It’s prob­a­bly the best my swing has felt, the best my body has felt like it’s been mov­ing, but I just didn’t pull the shots off. There was a lot of grind­ing there on the back nine but I’m happy to get in with four un­der,’ he said after­wards.

‘I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have taken it at the start of the day but given the shots that I hit, I’m pretty happy with it lead­ing into to­mor­row. It’s prob­a­bly the best my swing has felt, but I just didn’t pull the shots off.’

Elvira hit 66 for the second day in a row, while Rahm struck seven birdies and bo­gied only once to match his com­pa­triot’s score for the day.

Rahm, who came fourth in the Masters last week, said a vic­tory to­day would be the best mo­ment of his ca­reer so far. But if he fails to catch Dunne, he hopes Elvira takes the ti­tle in­stead.

‘It would be the most spe­cial vic­tory I’ve had so far. For­get­ting the ma­jors, (the Span­ish Open) is among the tour­na­ments I want to win the most,’ Rahm said. ‘I would love to be a cham­pion in my coun­try. It would bring me so much pride.’

The 24-year-old added: ‘I hope there is a Span­ish cham­pion. If it’s not me, let it be Na­cho. I would be equally as happy.’

English­man Andy Sul­li­van roared into con­tention, card­ing a club­house-best score – a seven-un­der-par 65 – to move to 13 un­der overall, four be­hind Dunne.

De­fend­ing cham­pion An­drew ‘Beef’ John­ston is down at 11 un­der.

LEAD­ING: Paul Dunne carded a 68 yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.