Elvira and Rahm could be set for Sunday shootout
Spaniards ready to put on a show for home fans
Sky Sports Golf, 1pm Sunday
Story so far
Paul Dunne, a 22-1 chance ante-post, leads the Spanish Open by a shot going into the final round at Centro Nacional de Golf in Madrid.
Dunne, who won his maiden European Tour title in the British Masters last year, is seeking a second victory at the age of 25. The Irishman is 13-8 favourite with 18 holes to play.
Home hero Jon Rahm is only two shots behind Dunne, though, and the ante-post 4-1 market leader will still be fancying his chances of success.
Sandwiched between Dunne and Rahm is another Spaniard, Nacho Elvira, who won a Challenge Tour event in Madrid in 2015. Elvira is 9-2 for a maiden European Tour triumph.
-17 Paul Dunne
-16 Nacho Elvira
-15 Jon Rahm, Henric Sturehed
-14 Brett Rumford
-13 Andy Sullivan
13-8 P Dunne, 7-4 J Rahm, 9-2 N Elvira, 20 H Sturehed, 25 A Sullivan, 28 B Rumford, 55 bar
The weather forecast gives the chasing pack a chance of firing a super-low final round – clear skies and hardly any breeze is expected – but it would still be a surprise should the winner of this event not comes from Paul Dunne, Nacho Elvira and Jon Rahm.
Henric Sturehed is the world number 645 and had missed seven cuts in a row prior to this tournament, so it is reasonable to believe the Swede will find a Sunday pairing with Rahm way too hot to handle.
Brett Rumford and Andy Sullivan have done nothing in recent weeks to suggest they can overcome the three quality players in front of them, and those five behind Dunne and worse have probably given themselves too much to do.
As is often the case at this stage of a tournament, punters' plans will be affected by their ante-post investments, and those on Dunne, Elvira or Rahm have some decisions to make.
Elvira was a pre-tournament 100-1 Racing Post Sport selection, so hopes are high that the Madrid-born swinger can at least deliver a healthy each-way return.
Elvira has made only four bogeys this week – and nothing worse – and is rolling his rock with assurance. The tip has every chance of landing the bumper payout if his nerve holds.
Dunne has also putted superbly to get pole position for Sunday, but the man to back as a cover shot for those who already have a decent wager on Elvira is Rahm. It is a surprise to find Rahm has anyone ahead of him in the betting given he is so close to the lead.
The big question mark against Rahm this week was whether he could immediately get over the rigours of Masters week. He surprised himself with the quality of his ball-striking in round one – the Basque Country boy admitted he expected a more sluggish start with jet-lag coursing through his system – and he has only got stronger as the tournament has progressed.
Rahm has found almost 90 percent of greens in regulation this week. Any warming of the putter on Sunday and it could be curtains for his rivals. Fingers will be firmly crossed that Elvira is the Spaniard holding the trophy aloft, but the world number four is sadly a more likely candidate.
3pts 7-4 BoyleSports