Italy’s Renato Paratore remained bogey-free through 54 holes as he maintained his one-shot lead after the third round of the Betfred British Masters (Paratore 6/4 fav Outright).

The world number 270 could shoot up the world rankings this week with a victory, and he has shown signs of challenging for titles in recent weeks.

Paratore finished 15th at the Austrian Open, while he also finished in the top 50 at the Commerical Bank Qatar Masters and Saudi International.

He started the day with a one-shot lead, but he handled the pressure superbly as he shot a round of 66 to fend off his nearest challengers.

South African Justin Harding (5/2) is hot on his tail on 15-under par, one clear of Dane Rasmus Hojgaard (4/1).

All three at the top of the leaderboard shot rounds of 66, while Sam Horsfield (16/1) moved into a share of fifth after carding a sensational round of 61.

Paratore is looking for his second win on the European Tour, and he believes his recent work away from the circuit will stand him in good stead.

He told the European Tour: “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 practise to be in contention so I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow.”

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