The image of Renato Paratore must be credited to Getty Images and used in conjunction with this release only. Please click on image to download a high-resolution version. You can also download video content and tournament information at the European Tour Media Hub: mediahub.europeantour.com
Round three report
Renato Paratore stayed bogey free through 54 holes as he established a one shot lead heading into the final round of the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood.
The Italian entered day three at Close House Golf Club with a one shot lead and while he had company at the top of the leaderboard throughout the day, a closing birdie handed him a 66 and a 16 under par total.
Paratore, who despite being just 23, is playing in his 159th event this week and seeking a second win after claiming his maiden victory in Sweden three years ago.
South African Justin Harding was his nearest challenger after also carding a 66, one clear of Dane Rasmus Højgaard, who also got round in five under. Harding is also going in search of a second career title, while Højgaard is seeking his second of the 2020 Race to Dubai after becoming the third youngest winner in European Tour history at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
England’s Dale Whitnell was at 13 under, a shot clear of countrymen Ashley Chesters and Sam Horsfield – who carded the lowest round of the week with a 61.
As the European Tour resumed after more than four months away due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ‘Golf For Good’ initiative was given a boost as Jack Senior made a hole-in-one on the 14th to win £50,000 for the Sir Graham Wylie Foundation. Betfred made the donation to the event’s Official Charity after Senior sank a seven iron from 176 yards.
Renato Paratore: “I played really solid these three days, especially the short game which has helped me save some shots when I needed them, so I’m happy with that.
“Fortunately, I live in Dubai with my friend who is also on the European Tour and we played a lot of competitive rounds with each other after lockdown. I think this helped me to stay competitive.
“I played solid from tee to green and some putts helped me to keep things consistent, so I think everything has helped me throughout these rounds. I am just really happy, we practice to be in contention so I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow.”
Justin Harding: “I was solid from tee to green today. I didn’t make too many mistakes. I had a little hiccup on the second which was naughty, and if a couple of putts could have dropped on the back nine it could have been a good one but at the end of the day it was all about putting yourself in position for tomorrow and I feel like I’ve done that.
“There are a couple of holes which don’t just suit my eye and I think I played them a little bit more conservatively that a couple of the others but it’s just one of those golf courses where you feel like you should be shooting the lights out and sometimes it just doesn’t quite work out that way.
“I wasn’t trying to go out and shoot an eight or nine under par like Horsfield, but obviously to shoot the score that he shot, you kind of felt like there was something out there. It played a bit trickier on the back nine but I feel strong and the scores are good.
“I have put a lot of hard work in in the last few months and it feels like the game is there or thereabouts. I have put a good set of clubs together which are all pretty new. I felt like I’ve managed my game and I’m mentally sound, so I’m hoping for a good final day and we’ll see what happens.”
Rasmus Højgaard: “I think my putt on 13 for par really kept the round going so that was a very important moment today. I think it’s going to be good, Jonathan can hopefully keep me calm out there and take the right decisions.
“I’m probably going to be a bit nervous tomorrow after such a long break but I’ve got to just keep patient and calm like what I did in the first three days and hopefully that will be enough in the end.
“I think I can take a few things from my last win. The last time I stayed patient and stayed calm. I didn’t rush anything and didn’t try to force anything so that will be my plan tomorrow if I’m in contention going down the stretch.”
Round three scores
197 R PARATORE (ITA) 65 66 66,
|Bad Times Register
Round One: No bad times
Round Two: No bad times
Round Three: No bad times