Card-chasing Dunne hopeful he can "seal the deal" soon
Bradley Dredge. Picture: Getty Images

Bradley Dredge. Picture: Getty Images

Paul Dunne was frustrated to make just his second bogey of the week at the 18th but he sounds confident that he's turned his game around after a tough stretch and hopeful he can clinch his European Tour card sooner rather than later.

He has a huge chance to do it on Sunday after a third round 69 left the Greystones rookie tied for sixth on six under par at Himmerland, just four shots behind Bradley Dredge as he bids to move from 122nd in the Race to Dubai to comfortably inside the all important top 110.

A maiden European Tour win would be the dream scenario and Dunne cannot afford to think of anything less, even if a top three or four finish would all but guarantee him his card for 2017 with a tally of around €250,000 the minimum required.

Right now Dunne has €154,456 from 17 starts and he knows that the longer he continues outside the top 110, the tougher it will become.

Asked if his recent form had relieved the pressure, Dunne joked: "Not really. I'll tell you after tomorrow. I came into this stretch of tournaments after having five weeks off after The Open. I took a little bit of a break.

"I was struggling in the six weeks up to The Open and I just needed to clear my head and get back to work with my coach in America. So the break was good for me. I have come back ready to get to work and hopefully we will seal the deal in the next few weeks."

The week has gone swimmingly for the 23-year old former Walker Cup player, though he was irritated to drop a shot at the 18th — just his second of the week.

"It's a bit annoying because I have never played two bogey free rounds in a tournament before," he said. "My game is in pretty good shape. I have been hitting it pretty well and given myself a lot of chances. I just haven't capitalised on the chances. 

"I am just playing pretty steady, picking up a short here or there and just waiting for my low round to come."

Dunne's tally of two bogeys in 54 holes is outstanding and by far the fewest of anyone else in the field. [Leader Dredge has made four bogeys and a double bogey] And while he had a top 20 in the Czech Republic last week and is heading for another good finish, he's keep his head down.

That's partly because the conditions have been so testing with strong winds adding to the difficulty of the course.

"The first day, the weather was perfect. There was a five-mph wind and the sun was out and it was warm. Then yesterday, the first six or seven holes I played it was like playing amateur golf back in Ireland.

"It was really windy and I was hitting a five-iron about 130 yards. Then it died down as the day went on and today was just a steady, 15 mph wind, which is what this course is designed to take."

Dunne compared the atmosphere to an Irish Open with warm, knowledgeable crowds adding to the experience."

Shane Lowry also shot a two under 69 and rose another 10 place to tied 20th on four under as he tries to impress Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke that he's worth one of those three wildcards.

Cormac Sharvin was four under for the day with three holes to play but bogeyed the 16th and 17th for a 69 that left him tied 34th on two under while Peter Lawrie's 79 relegated him to 71st on eight over. 

Pieters is one of Lowry's rivals for a wildcard and the young Belgian will be hard to leave out if he wins on Sunday.

To do that he must pass Dredge, who remains on course for a first European Tour title in ten years after a third round 72 gave him a one shot lead over Pieters, David Lipsky and Adrian Otaegui.

Another player hoping for a Ryder Cup wildcard next week, Germany’s Martin Kaymer, moved into contention with an impressive round of 66, which included a superb scoring run of four birdies and an eagle in the space of five holes from the second. 

The German is four shots back on eight under par in a share of sixth place with Dunne and Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia. 

Kaymer said: “It was a nice start to the round but when you are six or seven under par after 12 holes you are hoping for something lower, but it was a solid round and I played myself back into the tournament. 

“If I putt the same way as I did today then I might have a good chance tomorrow.”

Bradley Dredge – 72 (-12)

"It was not my best day today. I really struggled off the tee mainly, struggled with the driver which has been a big strength of mine in the last two days so it was a tough day and I just had to try and make the most of it to stay in there and hopefully I’ll play better tomorrow.

"I was in this situation a couple of years ago and I’ve been up there a couple of times this year. I want to win, that’s what I play golf for. I go along with my game plan, hopefully I play better tomorrow and just give myself a chance. If somebody plays great then they play great, but hopefully I’ll be up there and in with a shot in the last few holes.

Thomas Pieters 69 (-11)

“I played pretty nicely today but I had a shocker on the fourth. All of you saw it. I don’t know what happened there. I was not focused or there was nothing going on in my head there. I made a terrible seven there but I’m quite proud of the way I fought back after that. I needed to get the anger out so I threw the ball away. You just restart and try to get birdie on the next hole. 

"I did a good job because I got two birdies in a row after that. I’m still learning mentally to handle stuff like that but I thought I did a good job. The putts weren’t dropping in the last few holes but maybe tomorrow they will. 

Adrian Otageui – 68 (-11 total)

"I’m pretty happy with today’s round. I played good from the beginning and just dropped one shot on number ten which I hit over the green and it was a tough up and down. So four birdies and one bogey – I’m pretty happy with that. I’m playing solid tee to green so let’s keep it going tomorrow. 

David Lipsky 67 (-11)

“It’s really good to be three rounds under par here, especially with me playing yesterday afternoon, a bit of a bad draw, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.
“I’ve played this stretch before and won two years ago (Omega European Masters), and I played well so hopefully I can just keep it going like I did then.”

Complete round three scores

201 B Dredge (Wal) 63 66 72,

202 A Otaegui  (Esp) 68 66 68, D Lipsky (USA) 65 70 67, T Pieters  (Bel) 62 71 69,

203 J Lagergren (Swe) 62 70 71,

205 Paul Dunne (Irl) 68 68 69, R Gouveia (Por) 69 67 69, M Kaymer (Ger) 69 70 66,

206 R Sterne  (RSA) 66 67 73,

207 C Hanson (Eng) 69 69 69, E Molinari  (Ita) 70 68 69,

208 R Karlsson (Swe) 69 70 69, M Haastrup  (Den) 69 73 66, J Winther (Den) 68 67 73, D Brooks (Eng) 67 70 71, S Kjeldsen (Den) 68 67 73, P Lawrie (Sco) 70 66 72, J Van Zyl (RSA) 67 75 66, J Axelsen (am) (Den) 71 70 67,

209 R Ramsay  (Sco) 67 69 73, M Lundberg (Swe) 71 69 69, Shane Lowry  (Irl) 75 65 69, Y Yang (Kor) 72 68 69, T Lewis (Eng) 62 72 75, J Singh (Ind) 66 72 71, M Baldwin (Eng) 71 69 69, T Aiken (RSA) 68 67 74,

210 O Wilson (Eng) 70 65 75, R Evans  (Eng) 73 68 69, B Hebert  (Fra) 70 72 68, R Paratore (Ita) 73 70 67, J Kruger (RSA) 71 66 73, L Canter (Eng) 70 70 70, 

211 R Coles (Eng) 69 71 71, K Broberg (Swe) 69 67 75, D Burmester (RSA) 70 73 68, J Roos (RSA) 65 72 74, J Knutzon (USA) 67 73 71, C Paisley  (Eng) 67 71 73, G Murray  (Sco) 70 67 74, L Haotong (Chn) 67 69 75, C Lee (Sco) 72 69 70, Cormac Sharvin (Nir) 72 70 69,

212 T Van Der Walt (RSA) 68 72 72, S Cappelen (Den) 72 71 69, P Edberg (Swe) 69 72 71, T Linard (Fra) 69 74 69, B Evans  (Eng) 71 71 70, P Peterson (USA) 72 69 71, J Walters (RSA) 70 72 70,

213 S Manley (Wal) 73 70 70, O Lindell  (Fin) 71 72 70, C Aronsen  (Nor) 69 70 74,

214 D Drysdale (Sco) 69 73 72, J Morrison  (Eng) 67 73 74, S Gallacher (Sco) 70 70 74, J Donaldson (Wal) 68 72 74,

215 D Im (USA) 73 68 74, S Benson (Eng) 67 72 76, S Jamieson  (Sco) 65 78 72, R Green (Aus) 73 70 72,

216 S Dyson  (Eng) 67 74 75, D Løkke (Den) 71 71 74, B Virto  (Esp) 69 72 75,

217 K Ferrie (Eng) 68 75 74, M Southgate  (Eng) 69 72 76,

218 D Dixon (Eng) 74 69 75, C Costilla (Arg) 67 75 76,

219 S Webster (Eng) 68 75 76,

220 A Hansen (Den) 71 71 78, L Bjerregaard  (Den) 69 74 77,

221 Peter Lawrie (Irl) 72 70 79,

225 G Storm  (Eng) 70 73 82.