Manassero joins McGrane in front

25/03/2012 11:07:05
Matteo Manassero  (Getty Images)
Matteo Manassero (Getty Images)
Matteo Manassero’s Masters Tournament dream moved a step closer as he moved into a share of the lead when the third round of the Trophée Hassan II concluded.

As the tournament made up for time lost to strong winds on Friday, the 18 year old Italian returned to Golf du Palais Royal with three holes of his third hole remaining.

A birdie at the par three 16th moved Manassero – needing a win to secure a second appearance at Augusta National after finishing an impressive 36th as a 16 year old – to 12 under par with a 65.

That did not look like holding a share of the lead when Ireland’s Damien McGrane, who returned with weight holes to play, birdied the 11th and 15th to pull two shots clear.

But the 40 year old, whose only European Tour win came by nine shots in China four years ago, double bogeyed the closing hole in Agadir’s Royal Palace for a 71.

They were one clear of Spain’s José Manuel Lara, who himself would have led but for two bogeys in his last three holes.

The 18th was certainly posing problems – Phillip Price, Joel Sjöholm, Matthew Baldwin and Michael Hoey all bogeyed it to share fourth place on ten under par.