Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

McGrane has the edge

Damien McGrane

Damien McGrane holds a one-shot lead over 18-year-old Matteo Manassero and Jose Manuel Lara going into the final day of the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco.

McGrane and Lara both have eight holes of the third round to complete while Manassero has three left after high winds on Friday meant five and a half hours play was lost.

The 40-year-old Irishman, whose only European Tour title came by nine shots in China four years ago, stands at 12-under.

McGrane had started the day three behind clubhouse leader Phillip Price but with 13 holes of his second round remaining.

On his return McGrane birdied the seventh, ninth and 10th to pull level with former Ryder Cup hero Price, before two-putting the long 15th for birdie to take the outright lead. He holed an important six footer at the last to confirm his halfway advantage, then mixed four birdies with three bogeys over the first 10 holes of his third round to reach 12 under par.

"It was a nice way to finish the day with a birdie but I have to be honest and say that it was a bit of a mixed bag out there today," McGrane told europeantour.com.

"Plenty of birdies and bogeys so not quite as good as the first two rounds. I have actually missed a few fairways out there in the third round and that is probably the easiest thing to do on this course."

Manassero, needing a win to climb into the Official World Golf Ranking's top 50 and earn a place at the Masters Tournament in a fortnight's time, was six under through 14 holes. The teenager carded three consecutive birdies after the turn.

"It was a very good round for me," said the Maybank Malaysian Open champion. "I have to say that the extra prize of the Masters really helps me as well. It gives me extra motivation and I seem to play better in that kind of situation."

Northern Irishman Michael Hoey was back on 10-under in fourth after a 65 - despite missing a six foot par putt and bogeying the last.

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