Saturday 29 April 2017

Paul Dunne two shots clear ahead of final round of Trophee Hassan II

Ireland's Paul Dunne is seeking a first European Tour title in Morocco
Ireland's Paul Dunne is seeking a first European Tour title in Morocco

Ireland's Paul Dunne will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Trophee Hassan II in Rabat as he seeks to win a first European Tour title.

Dunne, who shared the 54-hole lead in the 2015 Open at St Andrews while still an amateur, carded six birdies and a double bogey in a second consecutive 69 to finish eight under par at Royal Dar Es Salam.

Italy's Renato Paratore is Dunne's nearest challenger after surging through the field courtesy of eight birdies and a solitary bogey, the 20-year-old completing a course-record 66 before the last group had teed off.

England's Paul Waring, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal and Denmark's Lasse Jensen are a shot further back on five under, with halfway leader Gregory Havret part of a six-strong group on four under.

Dunne began the day two shots off the lead, but found himself three clear of the chasing pack after five birdies in his first 12 holes.

The 24-year-old then double-bogeyed the 13th after his approach plugged in a greenside bunker, but steadied the ship with four pars before holing from 25 feet for a birdie on the 18th.

" I've been playing well recently and haven't played a tournament in four weeks with the break we had, so it felt like it took me a while to get going with my swing," said Dunne, whose sixth place finish in the Tshwane Open in March was the best of his career to date.

"B ut today it was a much easier round than the last couple of days. I didn't putt as well as I did yesterday, but I hit the ball a lot better so am really pleased."

Dunne carded a closing 78 to finish 30th in the 2015 Open and asked if he had learnt from that experience, he added on Sky Sports 4: "I think St Andrews is different. It's such a big amphitheatre around it, there's thousands and thousands of people there and it's a big atmosphere.

"I wasn't expecting to be leading and it was a bit of a bonus. I think now if I play well I kind of expect to be up there with a chance so it's different.

"I'm not going to say I'm going to win tomorrow, but I feel like I'm more ready to win than I was then. I feel like it's something I should do rather than make the end to a great story.

"If I break 70 again I think it's going to be hard for someone to catch me so I'm just going to try to do that."

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