After a five-under 65 on moving day at Close House,Paul Dunne and his trusty head cover (Lucky Larry) are one round shy of making the biggest noise of his short pro career.
Team Dunne at the British Masters – Image by golffile.ie
Dunne is among five players at 11-under par and only one shot behind Sweden’s Robert Karlsson who heads the British Masters at 12-under par.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton had gone into day three leading by three but the sometimes fiery Brit let his emotions get the better of him with just two birdies but also three bogeys including dropped shots at 15 and 18 in a round of 71 to be tied with Dunne along with Scotland’s Richie Ramsay (65) and two other Englishman in Ian Poulter (68) and Graeme Storm (67).
Dunne, and contesting his 51st Tour event, has again given himself a chance of a first success since earlier this year in losing a play-off at the Hassan 11 Trophy in Morocco.
“It was a good day and I got off to a nice start with birdies at three of the first four holes”, he said.
“That got me off on the right foot and from there I played pretty solid. I just didn’t make many of my chances I gave on the back nine.
“I airmailed the green with a wedge on 12 for a bogey but apart from that I was giving myself chances most of the way around. Missed a few of them. Birdied 17 which is nice in the rain on the way in. But all in all it was pretty easy, could have been a few lower but hopefully I’ll save that for tomorrow.
“If you’re driving the ball well, you’ve got a lot of wedges in, so there’s a lot of opportunities to make birdies coming in, but you’ve still got to do it.
“Hopefully I can start tomorrow like I did today and just kind of build from there.
“I think the forecast tomorrow is not great but we’ll see what it flows at us. If the weather is good, there’s lots of chances, and it’s quite bunched, so to have a chance to win, you’re going to have to shoot — I think you have to be at least 15- or 16-under, so I have to shoot 4- or 5-under minimum, and to shoot that, you have to attack”.
If successful, Dunne would be the fifth Irish-born British Masters winner and the first since 1992 when the late Christy O’Connor Jnr won at Woburn.
One shot behind Dunne is the Irish duo of Rory McIlroy (64) and Shane Lowry (66).
Lowry, and like McIlroy, didn’t drop a shot as he looks for a first taste of success since capturing the 2015 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational.
“I played quite nicely and I feel like I’m hitting the ball well. Scored nicely. Give myself coming into tomorrow which is the main thing,” he said.
“I hit one of my best shots all week into 18. I was in between 5 and 6 and really felt like I could just squeeze a 6-iron there. I hit it great and came just straight at the flag, which was nice. I was trying to hit it a little bit left but put it on to the flag a bit.
“Unfortunately I didn’t knock in the putt. But I’m in a good position going into tomorrow and I was in a good position going into Sunday last week.
“I just need to keep doing this and eventually I’ll pop up somewhere and maybe get a win”.