Dunne eyes big finish at St Andrews
 ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 07:  Tyrrell Hatton of England tees off on the 7th during day three of the 2017 Alfred Dunhill Championship at Kingsbarns on October 7, 2017 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 07:  Tyrrell Hatton of England tees off on the 7th during day three of the 2017 Alfred Dunhill Championship at Kingsbarns on October 7, 2017 in St Andrews, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

He knows it's a tall order but Paul Dunne hasn’t given up hope of closing a seven-stroke gap on defending champion Tyrrell Hatton over the Old Course in the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.

The Wicklow man is bidding to win back-to-back following his breakthrough victory at last week’s British Masters, or at the very least move into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai from his current position of 12th.

While Hatton shot at 65 to Dunne’s 70 at Kingsbarns to take a five-stroke lead over France’s Gregory Bourdy into the final round, the Greystones start is gunning for a low one at the Home of Golf.

“It was tricky,” Dunne said after his two-under par round left him alone in third on 11-under. 

"I got off to a nice start birdieing one of the first two and three-putted 12 for par and then I really struggled.

"Thirteen through 17 were praying really tough, back into us, strong breeze. So I can't play great but I managed to scramble some pars.

"And then two-under was okay, considering the conditions and how I played. I didn't play that well. Swing started to feel better towards the end. A few loose shots on the last.

"All in all, 70 is a decent return, so I'm not totally out of it but I need a seriously low one tomorrow by the looks of how Tyrrell is playing."

Patience was key for Dunne, who conceded: “Well, it has to be. It takes six hours to get around. When the weather is this tough, you know you’re going to have some holes where you're going to have to grind it out. 

"It's tough to two-putt from 50 feet when it's blowing 25 miles an hour gusting up.

"When you're by the coast, you can really feel the freshness of the breeze. I didn't hit it as well as I have the last couple of days, so I think it's a decent return, given that. But there is definitely a score out there.”

As for his plan of attack for the final round at St Andrews, where he first found fame by co-leading The Open into the final round in 2015, Dunne said: “Just try to get off to a quick start. 

"I think there's going to be less wind tomorrow, and if it's the same direction, that means the scoring will be pretty good.

“So if I can try to get a few under in the first few holes, get a bit of momentum and then just try to build from that and shoot as low as I can and see what happens."

He may find it tough to reel in Hatton, who produced a brilliant bogey-free 65 for the second consecutive day to surge into a five-shot lead.

The Englishman entered round three in a share of the lead, and when he made a sixth birdie of the day on the fourth at Kingsbarns, he had a six-shot advantage and looked set for a commanding cushion heading into the final day.

Bourdy produced four birdies in a row on the front nine at Carnoustie to cut the gap to four, but a closing birdie for Hatton moved him to 18-under and in a dominant position.

Bourdy signed for a 66 at the venue for next year’s Open Championship to finish at 13-under-par and two shots ahead of Dunne,

Former World No 1 Luke Donald is one shot further back at ten-under-par alongside fellow Englishman Ross Fisher with Shane Lowry tied 18th, 11 behind Hatton, after a 66 at Kingsbarns.

Graeme McDowell also shot 70 at Kingsbarns to share 30th on six-under while The Island’s Gavin Moynihan birdied the 18th at Carnoustie for a 72 to make the cut on the four-under-par limit.

Rory McIlroy recovered from a double bogey on his 11th hole by reeling off four birdies in a row, and despite another bogey on the last, he signed for a 68 to go through to round four on the cut line.

“I wish I hadn't bogeyed the last. But yeah, it was a bit of an up-and-down day,” said McIlroy ahead of his final round of the year. 

"I had eight birdies, two bogeys and a double out there, so there's a bit of everything. I knew I needed to shoot at least 68, if not better.

“I’ll just go out and enjoy myself. It’s my last competitive round of the year. It's going to be around St. Andrews, which is nice. 

"Go out and enjoy myself, have a good time. Try and shoot a good score and end the season on a bit of a positive note.

“I think he (Tyrrell) needs Jamie Dornan as his caddie. I think he just needs to get him as his caddie and Jamie can pack up the acting, and they can go out on Tour. 

"What he's doing, he's playing very impressively. He loves these three courses. I thought someone might have pushed him today and got a bit closer, but it just shows how well he’s playing, and it's his to lose tomorrow.”

Pádraig Harrington missed the cut by two strokes when he double bogeyed his final hole at Kingsbarns, the par-five ninth, to card a two-over 74 and finish on two-under.

As for the leader, Hatton said: "To win at the Home of Golf once, you know, is incredible, but to do it again and defend would be a dream come true.

"Obviously it was a great day. I played really good. Conditions were quite tough towards the end, so I feel like I did quite well hanging in there, and obviously, it was nice to birdie the last. 

'It’s good fun to be playing with him (Jamie Dornan) again. We get on really well, and obviously having a mate on the bag, Jonathan, he's helping, too.

'Last year was a new experience for me going out leading a tournament, and you know, I managed to do a really good job. I made myself very difficult to catch. Hopefully, I can do that again tomorrow.

'I’ll just keep going as I am. I like knowing where I'm at on the leaderboard, so I'll certainly keep an eye on that. But I'm just going to try and play as best as I can. That's all I can do. Hopefully, that will be good enough."

In the team competition, Bourdy and former Tullow Oil Chief Executive Aidan Heavey lead on 28-under par.

Complete third round scores:

198 T Hatton (Eng) 68 65 65,

203 G Bourdy (Fra) 70 67 66,

205 Paul Dunne (Irl) 67 68 70,

206 L Donald (Eng) 70 70 66, R Fisher (Eng) 71 68 67,

207 N Colsaerts (Bel) 67 67 73, K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 70 66 71, A Levy (Fra) 70 69 68, J Lagergren (Swe) 69 67 71, B Ritthammer (Ger) 70 66 71,

208 R Rock (Eng) 71 68 69, V Dubuisson (Fra) 74 66 68, G Havret (Fra) 70 69 69, M Warren (Sco) 70 71 67, D Drysdale (Sco) 69 67 72, M Ilonen (Fin) 74 67 67, R Wattel (Fra) 70 68 70,

209 Shane Lowry (Irl) 68 75 66, T Fleetwood (Eng) 70 63 76, S Gallacher (Sco) 72 67 70, G Stal (Fra) 72 67 70, N Fasth (Swe) 73 65 71, R Gouveia (Por) 71 71 67, B Evans (Eng) 69 68 72, M Siem (Ger) 69 66 74, B Stone (RSA) 71 67 71, M Kaymer (Ger) 71 71 67, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 73 68 68, B Dredge (Wal) 70 70 69,

210 J Ahlers (RSA) 71 69 70, J Luiten (Ned) 70 69 71, E Pepperell (Eng) 72 69 69, N Bertasio (Ita) 70 69 71, H Porteous (RSA) 74 71 65, R Gibson (Aus) 70 72 68, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 69 70, M Wallace (Eng) 69 67 74, M Giles (Aus) 73 67 70, Graeme McDowell (Nir) 69 71 70, O Fisher (Eng) 68 71 71, A Chesters (Eng) 71 69 70,

211 D Horsey (Eng) 75 70 66, B Grace (RSA) 70 69 72, R Bland (Eng) 73 65 73, G Coetzee (RSA) 69 73 69, P Hanson (Swe) 71 72 68, D Fichardt (RSA) 74 68 69, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 74 67 70, A Rai (Eng) 70 70 71, G Storm (Eng) 75 69 67, D Frittelli (RSA) 70 71 70, J Holmes (USA) 73 66 72, C Syme (Sco) 72 70 69,

212 A Michael (RSA) 73 65 74, J Scrivener (Aus) 72 71 69, L Johnston (Sco) 72 70 70, Gavin Moynihan (Irl) 70 70 72, S Gregory (Eng) 71 71 70, R McIlroy (Nir) 73 71 68, R Sterne (RSA) 72 75 65, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 73 70 69, J Wang (Kor) 69 71 72, U Van Den Berg (RSA) 73 68 71, J Morrison (Eng) 71 69 72, J Quesne (Fra) 71 69 72, L Jensen (Den) 71 69 72, B Hebert (Fra) 69 72 71, L Canter (Eng) 72 69 71,

CUT

213 J Kruyswijk (RSA) 73 72 68, S Manley (Wal) 72 69 72, W Ormsby (Aus) 74 70 69, J Donaldson (Wal) 70 73 70, T Aiken (RSA) 73 68 72,

214 J Kruger (RSA) 71 68 75, J Fahrbring (Swe) 71 71 72, N Elvira (Esp) 71 68 75, S Chawrasia (Ind) 72 72 70, Z Lombard (RSA) 71 70 73, S Hend (Aus) 73 70 71, R Langasque (Fra) 69 72 73, S Gros (Fra) 76 70 68, T Olesen (Den) 73 68 73, J Smith (Eng) 70 73 71, A Wall (Eng) 73 72 69, Pádraig Harrington (Irl) 72 68 74

215 C Paisley (Eng) 74 73 68, A Dodt (Aus) 73 69 73, A Quiros (Esp) 71 71 73, M Manassero (Ita) 74 71 70, O Bekker (RSA) 70 72 73, T Lewis (Eng) 77 68 70, S Jamieson (Sco) 70 70 75, J Campillo (Esp) 73 71 71, J Suri (USA) 72 71 72,

216 S Heisele (Ger) 72 69 75, L Slattery (Eng) 73 69 74, P Waring (Eng) 73 71 72, R Karlsson (Swe) 75 70 71, M Carlsson (Swe) 74 73 69, M Armitage (Eng) 71 69 76, A Price (Aus) 70 74 72, P Angles (Esp) 72 72 72, G Forrest (Sco) 75 67 74, P Larrazábal (Esp) 76 67 73, A Cañizares (Esp) 75 67 74, A Hansen (Den) 74 73 69, R Fox (Nzl) 68 73 75, A Knappe (Ger) 73 67 76, F Zanotti (Par) 74 71 71,

217 E Els (RSA) 74 70 73, T Detry (Bel) 71 76 70, J Singh Brar (Eng) 79 67 71, P Khongwatmai (Tha) 74 69 74, A Hall (Aus) 75 69 73, D Brooks (Eng) 72 73 72, Y Chang (Kor) 72 68 77, B Rumford (Aus) 73 69 75, J Carlsson (Swe) 78 72 67, E De La Riva (Esp) 74 71 72,

218 T Jaidee (Tha) 74 70 74, F Aguilar (Chi) 74 71 73, J Walters (RSA) 74 73 71, J Stalter (Fra) 68 74 76,

219 L Bjerregaard (Den) 76 71 72, L Westwood (Eng) 71 73 75, A Plant (Eng) 73 73 73, E Molinari (Ita) 73 73 73, A Björk (Swe) 72 73 74, T Bjørn (Den) 73 70 76, M Pavon (Fra) 72 71 76, B Quigley (USA) 73 73 73, L Cianchetti (Ita) 70 72 77, T Sinnott (Aus) 80 69 70,

220 J Davidson (Wal) 71 73 76, D Burmester (RSA) 77 69 74, D Stewart (Sco) 82 68 70, R Paratore (Ita) 77 69 74, F Fritsch (Ger) 79 71 70, P Tangkamolprasert (Tha) 75 67 78,

221 C Kresge (USA) 72 73 76, P Peterson (USA) 75 75 71, S Leaney (Aus) 75 72 74,

222 S Lee (Kor) 72 76 74, A Otaegui (Esp) 73 75 74, C Shinkwin (Eng) 76 72 74, S Appleby (Aus) 78 73 71, M Kieffer (Ger) 73 73 76,

223 S Dyson (Eng) 82 70 71, S Brazel (Aus) 71 77 75, D Perrier (Fra) 72 76 75, P Newcomb (USA) 76 75 72, C Hanson (Eng) 74 73 76,

224 R Karlberg (Swe) 75 74 75, C Pigem (Esp) 71 78 75, B An (Kor) 74 76 74,

225 M Southgate (Eng) 78 72 75, A Evans (Aus) 74 71 80, S Walker (Eng) 75 73 77,

226 W Ashun (Chn) 78 71 77, N Kimsey (Eng) 76 71 79,

227 N Holman (Aus) 75 71 81,

230 D Im (USA) 76 78 76, D Howell (Eng) 72 76 82,

231 J Lima (Por) 74 76 81, A Connelly (Can) 81 75 75,

WD R Ramsay (Sco) 71 71 WD, M Fraser (Aus) 74 DQ DQ, P Lawrie (Sco) 71 WD WD