FORGET 50 Shades of Grey. Tyrrell Hatton is threatening to knock 50 shades of you know what out of the rest of the field in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

His amateur playing partner in the pro-am contest is Jamie Dornan, the Irish actor who starred in that aforementioned racy romp and continues to attract admiring glances from swooning onlookers even if the sight of him thrashing a 5-iron into a stiff breeze may not be quite as titillating on the eye as his kinky, on-screen flicks with a riding crop.

It was Hatton who continued to put in the, ahem, rousing performance on the links as he opened up a commanding five stroke advantage over the chasing pack during the third round.

The 25-year-old, who led the way by three this time last year and eventually eased to a four shot win, is on course to become the first player to successfully defend the title and a polished and purposeful seven-under 65 at Kingsbarns moved him onto an 18-under aggregate of 198.

This was Hatton’s second successive 65 and he hasn’t dropped a shot in 36-holes. Indeed, he’s only spilled two strokes all week in an event which clearly brings out the best in him. With a healthy advantage over Frenchman, Gregory Bourdy, heading into the closing round over the Old Course, it will be very much a case of catch me if you can.

“Last year was a new experience for me going out on the final day leading a tournament but I managed to do a really good job,” reflected Hatton, who had halves of 32 and 33 on a neatly pieced together card.

“I made myself very difficult to catch and hopefully I can do that again on Sunday. To win at the home of golf once is incredible but to do it again and defend would be a dream come true.”

Hatton will be the first to admit that his temper can often get the better of him. Prior to this week’s affair in the cradle of the game, his fellow English professional, Gary Evans, scolded Hatton on social media and told him to ‘grow up’ while branding him a ‘disgrace’ for an act of petulance during the final round of the British Masters last Sunday.

Hatton continues to deal with such criticism with a nonchalant shrug, though, and he’s certainly kept a lid on his temper in the altogether different environment of this celebrity-infused grin-athon. Perhaps Dornan has threatened him with a stinging rap of that riding crop if he gets in a hissy fit?

“The format helps me quite a lot and it keeps me relaxed,” added Hatton. “I’ll occasionally boil over but that’s just me. I’m enjoying this week.”

Bourdy, a four-time winner on the European Tour, bolstered his push with a quartet of successive birdies on his back nine at Carnoustie in a 66 for a 13-under tally. “I will fight from the beginning until the end,” said the Frenchman, who is certainly not keen for Hatton to enjoy a procession to a coronation.

Paul Dunne, the winner of the British Masters last week, continued to mine the rich vein of form he has found and tucked himself into third place on 11-under while Marc Warren refused to be a derailed by a double-bogey six on his 12th hole and picked up three shots coming home in a 67 on the Old Course for an eight-under total as he finish in a tie for 11th with fellow Scot, David Drysdale.

Tommy Fleetwood, the joint overnight leader, was brought down to earth with a bump after his course record 63 at Carnoustie on Friday and struggled to a four-over 76 at Kingsbarns to slither backwards with a seven-under aggregate.

Fife rookie Connor Syme, meanwhile, showed his qualities in just his second event as a pro and battled admirably to make the cut.

Two-over for the day with eight holes to play at the Old Course, Syme reeled off five birdies in a spirited 69 and qualified for the final day on five-under.

Dumfries’ Liam Johnston, who is making his pro debut, also earned plaudits and a hardy 70 at Carnoustie got him through on the four-under limit alongside Rory McIlroy.

Richie Ramsay’s weekend was brought to a premature end, however, as the Aberdonian was forced to retire with an injured shoulder .