Italian stallion looks ready to make his breakthrough
Paratore hits top form in third round
Story so far
Paul Dunne leads the Hassan II Trophy by two shots going into the final round, the Irishman moving to eight under par through 54 holes.
Dunne, available at 50-1 ante-post, made a birdie at the 18th hole to double his advantage at the top of the leaderboard. Italian youngster Renato Paratore is alone in second place, the pre-tournament 150-1 chance firing a superb Saturday 66.
Dunne has become 9-5 favourite, with Paratore at 9-1, the same price as Pablo Larrazabal, the biggest name in the three-way tie for third place.
Lucas Bjerregaard shared the lead on the 16th tee in round three, but the Dane finished with three consecutive bogeys. Ante-post favourites Joost Luiten and Dean Burmester are both one under par and still have a slim hope of success.
-8 Paul Dunne
-6 Renato Paratore
-5 Paul Waring, Pablo Larrazabal, Lasse Jensen
-4 Edoardo Molinari, Dylan Frittelli, Gregory Bourdy, Trevor Fisher, Lucas Bjerregaard, Gregory Havret
-3 Chris Hanson, Victor Dubuisson, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Ricardo Gonzalez, Carlos Pigem
-2 Jorge Campillo, Ricardo Gouveia, Daniel Brooks, Matthieu Pavon, Anthony Wall
-1 Joost Luiten, Dean Burmester, Jordan Smith, Matteo Manassero
2 P Dunne, 8 P Larrazabal, 9 R Paratore, 16 L Jensen, 20 P Waring, T Fisher, 22 L Bjerregaard, 25 G Havret, 28 D Frittelli, V Dubuisson, 40 M Lorenzo-Vera, 45 E Molinari, 50 C Hanson, 66 C Pigem, J Campillo, 100 D Burmester, 125 J Luiten, 150 bar
The Hassan II Trophy leaderboard has been congested all week, with nobody taking the tournament by the scruff of the neck, but Paul Dunne created a gap with a final birdie in round three.
Dunne has long been touted as a potential European Tour champion, announcing himself on to the world stage when leading the 2015 Open Championship as an amateur at St Andrews after three rounds. A Sunday 78 ruined that dream, but put Dunne on the golfing map.
Progress in the professional ranks has not come as quickly as many anticipated, with only three European Tour top-ten finishes, but Dunne has given himself an opportunity of making a breakthrough in Morocco at the age of 24.
Racing Post Sport followers are hoping the leader falters, with Renato Paratore a pre-tournament selection at 150-1. Paratore played beautifully in round three, having finished tenth in this event last year, and the 20-year-old has bundles of promise.
Dunne is a European Tour maiden, Paratore is too, and two of the three players tied for third place – Paul Waring and Lasse Jensen – have also never lifted a trophy. Bookmakers are respecting Pablo Larrazabal – a four-time champion at the age of 33 – but the moody Spaniard is never a man to trust at short prices.
If Larrazabal gets out of the right side of bed on Sunday and finds some early rhythm, he could prove the man to beat, but his temperament and swing are untrustworthy. Dunne and Paratore will not fear anyone around them on the leaderboard.
Paratore, having found his A-game in round three, could destroy the five par-fives on Sunday and get his career off to a flyer. It is a surprise to see a price with as much juice as 9-1 is still available about this Italian stallion, so a press-up can easily be justified. Dunne and Paratore tee off at 2.15pm UK and Ireland time in the final twoball.
1pt each-way 9-1 Coral