Pro Golf Weekly

Dunne Maintains Lead in Spain as Native Sons Close In

Paul Dunne shot a 4-under 68 in the third round of the Open de España, and will take a one-shot lead into what should be a terrific Sunday finale at Centro Nacional de Golf.

Credit: Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

The Irishman entered the day three ahead but saw that lead cut to just one following a four-par start, as the chasing pack was surging on a perfect scoring day in Madrid.

Dunne finally answered with a hat-trick of gains on Nos. 5, 6, and 7 to turn in 33. On the back nine, the 25-year old Dublin native offset a bogey on the par-3 17th with two birdies, highlighted by a final-hole gain to reach 17-under par.

“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,” said Dunne.

“There was a lot of grinding there on the back nine but I’m happy to get in with four under. 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.

“Everything feels good, the game feels great, I just didn’t pick shots. I hit a few shots without having a shot in mind so that’s something to work on for tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have a good day. I’m confident about tomorrow.”

Dunne, who claimed his maiden victory at last year’s British Masters, will have two native sons chasing him down on Sunday as he seeks his second Tour title.

Playing alongside Dunne, Nacho Elvira, also birdied the 18th hole, one of eight gains on the day for the 31-year old Spaniard. His 16-under par is one better than compatriot Jon Rahm, the 23-year old wunderkind, who carded seven birdies against one bogey en route to a 6-under 66 and a three-day score of 15 under.

Credit: Getty Images/Icon Sportswire

The Spaniards should enjoy home field advantage on Sunday, especially the young superstar Rahm, who already owns two European Tour titles – both Rolex Series victories – as he goes for his first pro win on home soil.

Rahm is tied for third with Swede Henric Sturehed, who also shot a round of 66 on Saturday, one clear of Aussie veteran Brett Rumford (68).

Andy Sullivan fired a low-round 65 to set the early clubhouse target at 13 under. At the end of the day, the Englishman sits solo-sixth, a shot better than Spain’s Jorge Campillo (67), Scot Marc Warren (69), and England’s Aaron Rai.

Four players sit T10, including defending champion Andrew Johnston, who offset one bogey with four birdies, including two in his final four holes to reach 11-under par.


TOP 10 LEADERS

1 Paul Dunne -17
2 Nacho Elvira -16
3 Jon Rahm -15
3 Henric Sturehed -15
5 Brett Rumford -14
6 Andy Sullivan -13
7 Aaron Rai -12
7 Jorge Campillo -12
7 Marc Warren -12
10 Jacques Kruyswijk -11
10 Bradley Neil -11
10 Andrew Johnston -11
10 Maximilian Kieffer -11


VIDEO: SHOTS OF THE DAY

CHIP SHOT: Henric Sturehed chips in for birdie on the par-3 9th hole.

PUTT: Jon Rahm drains a fast-moving putt that swirls the edge for a birdie on the par-4 6th hole.

APPROACH: Paul Dunne sticks his approach to tap-in range on the par-4 12th hole.


QUOTABLE

“Everything feels good, the game feels great. I’m confident about tomorrow.”
– Paul Dunne


Credit: Getty Images, European Tour Media


Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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