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Czech Masters

South African Branden Grace remains in charge at Dunhill Links Championship after third round

Last Updated: 06/10/12 6:34pm

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Branden Grace: Chasing fourth European Tour victory of the year

Branden Grace: Chasing fourth European Tour victory of the year

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South African Branden Grace remains the dominant force at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland where he will take a four-stroke lead into the final round on Sunday.

Grace, a three-time winner on the European Tour already this season, has led the tournament since carding a 60 at Kingsbarns on Thursday.

And on Saturday at Carnoustie he popped in six more birdies in a three-under-par 69, a round that also featured one bogey and a double-bogey six at 15.

In Sunday's closing round at the Old Course, St Andrews, his closest challenger will be Thorbjorn Olesen whose third day 68 came at Kingsbarns - and was spoilt by a double-bogey six at 17.

The joint-best rounds of the day belonged to former champion Stephen Gallacher and Alexander Noren - as they both posted 65s at Kingsbarns.

Gallacher's effort yielded an eagle and six birdies, to leave the Scotsman in a tie-for-fifth - six strokes off the pace.

Noren meanwhile is one-stroke better off, with the Swede needing just 29 swipes to reach the turn.

However, with just 18 holes remaining, Grace looks well placed to secure his fourth European Tour title of the season and his fifth in total.

Lawrie misses out

Two of the three returning Ryder Cup players made the cut, but it will disappoint locals that the one to miss out was Paul Lawrie.

Third round leaderboard

(GB & Ire unless stated
-20 B Grace (SA)
-16 T Olesen (Den)
-15 F Andersson Hed (Swe)
-15 A Noren (Swe)
-14 S Gallacher (Sco)
-14 J Sjoholm (Swe)

Click here for collated scores

A 68 for three-under at St Andrews was never likely to be enough for him - "I putted like an idiot," he said afterwards - but Martin Kaymer's 69 took him to six-under and Peter Hanson matched that round to squeeze through on five-under.

Although Jose Maria Olazabal's four assistants - Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez - all failed to make it, lone American Dustin Johnson, winner of all his three games in the Chicago defeat, is alongside Kaymer thanks to a 67.

Grace said: "I didn't play particularly well. There were loose shots here and there, but this course mentally does it to you.

"I kept fighting, got it around and finishing with a birdie is a bonus.

"Everybody calls it 'Car-nasty' (a name given during the 1999 Open when the rough was some of the worst ever and a 19-year-old Sergio Garcia finished last on 30-over) and it showed you still have to hit good shots.

"I've dreamt of picking any trophy up on that bridge on the 18th (at St Andrews), so maybe this time tomorrow it happens."

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