July 8, 2017: Jon Rahm and Daniel Im will share the lead heading into the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation after an engaging third day battle at Portstewart Golf Club.
The Spaniard entered Saturday one shot behind overnight leaders Im and Benjamin Hebert and the trio took part in an engaging battle at the top of the leaderboard throughout the day.
Rahm made four birdies in a row from the 11th to take the lead but American Im made a gain of his own on the 14th join him on 17 under and the pair will head into Sunday just a single shot ahead of France’s Hebert.
Japanese Hideto Tanihara was then at 15 under, a shot clear of another Frenchman in Julien Quesne.
Rahm has risen to 11th in the Official World Golf Ranking with the help of three European Tour top tens this season including two top fives in World Golf Championships.
He will now go in search of his first title with Im also looking for a maiden win after narrowly keeping hold of his card last year.
Im had only led once before in his European Tour career but should he prevail in the season’s third Rolex Series event with a seven million dollar prize fund on offer, he will have claimed a wire-to-wire victory.
Rahm turned in 35 with two birdies and a bogey and when Im made three birdies in four holes from the fifth, he held a two-shot lead at the turn.
But Rahm was the next man to go on a run, holing a 25-footer on the 11th and a left-to-righter on the next. He was agonisingly close to an eagle on the 13th and when he got up and down on the 14th after a poor tee-shot, he had the lead.
Australian Scott Hend joined Quesne in signing for a 64 and he was 13 under alongside World Number 13 Justin Rose, another Englishman in Oliver Fisher and New Zealander Ryan Fox.
Hend registered an eagle and six birdies in his effort while Rose also made six birdies in a blemish-free 66.
Fox recovered from a bogey-bogey-start to post a round of 70 while Fisher had one bogey in posting the same score.
Welshman Bradley Dredge carded a 67 and Matthew Southgate a 71 to sit at 12 under.
Peter Hanson was in the group at 11 under with the help of the 22nd hole-in-one of the season. The Swede holed a six iron from 197 yards on the third and that was the second ace of the week after Joost Luiten needed just a single blow on the sixth on Thursday.