St. Andrews, Scotland (Sports Network) - Branden Grace shot a 3-under-par 69 at Carnoustie Golf Club on Saturday to grab a 4-stroke lead entering the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Grace, who will seek his fourth European Tour win of the season on Sunday, has led after all three rounds of the event. The South African fired a course- record 12-under-par 60 at Kingsbarns on Thursday before staying on top with a second-round 67 at St. Andrews.
Carnoustie is considered the most difficult of the three courses in play during this event, but Grace managed six birdies and overcame a double-bogey to maintain his edge on Saturday.
"With this course you expect to hit a couple of bad shots out there, but I kept fighting," said Grace.
Thorbjorn Olesen is in second place for the second consecutive day after carding a 68 at Kingsbarns, while Alexander Noren (65) and Fredrik Andersson Hed (66) are tied for third at 15-under.
Noren provided a threat to Grace's cushion when he recorded five birdies and an eagle through his first nine holes at Kingsbarns on Saturday. The Swede cooled on the back, however, and needed a birdie on the last to get to 65.
Stephen Gallacher, whose only career European Tour win came at this event in 2004, and Joel Sjoholm are tied for fifth at 14-under. Sjoholm was even with Olesen entering Saturday before shooting a 70 at Carnoustie.
Paul Lawrie, one of the three European Ryder Cup heroes competing in this event, shot a 68 at St. Andrews and failed to make the cut, finishing tied for 79th place at 3-under-par 213.
The other Ryder Cup victors, Martin Kaymer and Peter Hanson moved on at 6- under and 5-under respectively.
Dustin Johnson, who was on the wrong side of Europe's stunning victory at Medinah despite winning all three of his matches, shot a 67 on Saturday and is among the group tied with Kaymer.
Playing at the event's most challenging course, Grace battled to stay in front. The 24-year-old reeled off three straight birdies before registering a double-bogey on the par-four 15th. He recovered with a birdie on the last to get to 3-under on the day.
"Finishing with a birdie like that was a great finish to the day," continued Grace. "The thing is with this course, it just hits you mentally...but when you're playing well everything goes away and you forget about those things that get tough."
Notes: Defending champion Michael Hoey missed the cut after carding a pair of 71s and a 72 for a 2-under 214...British Open winner Ernie Els shot a 65 at St. Andrews on Saturday. He is tied for 29th place at 8-under 208.