Saturday, 05 July 2014
Jake Roos (Stefan Heigl / PGA of Germany)  (EuropeanTour)
Jake Roos (Stefan Heigl / PGA of Germany) (EuropeanTour)

There is still nothing to separate the leaders at the Aegean Airlines Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort, with a trio of players holding a narrow one stroke advantage at 11 under par after 54 holes.

Sweden’s Bjorn Åkesson, Englishman Chris Hanson and Jake Roos lead the way, and all are in position to challenge for the win on Sunday after another day of low scoring in Bavaria.

For Åkesson and Hanson tomorrow would be unchartered territory were they to win, while Roos has already tasted success this year.

The South African won the season opening event at the Barclays Kenya Open in March, and has put together a very steady run of performances en route to seventh place on the Rankings. He is clearly playing well, and talks openly about how good he is feeling about his game this week, so it would be no surprise if he were to take the title on Sunday.

“It was a good round today as I was hitting the ball very nicely,” said the 33 year old from Hermanus. “There were one or two errors, but I’m pleased with the round. It was nice making those four birdies in a row after the turn, but then on the 14th the scorer came up to me and told me what I’d just done and I missed a two foot putt and made bogey. That was maybe a bit of a jinx there, but I’m playing well and hitting it quite tidy, keeping it in play, and that’s what you have to do round this golf course.

“I love being in the thick of it and am looking forward to tomorrow. It is pretty tight, so you have to put it in the right positions, but I like the greens and the course suits my game.

“I just want to stick to my game plan tomorrow and try and go as low as possible. It looks like it is going to be pretty competitive out there, so I’ll see what I can do.”

It has been a long week already for Hanson, who is riding a wave of confidence after he qualified for the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool later this month thanks to consecutive rounds of 69 at Hillside Golf Club on Tuesday.

That made for a long day of travelling on Wednesday, but he has revelled on the Beckenbauer Course since a solid opening round of one under par, with today’s 67 the latest stellar score posted by the man from Huddersfield.

“It’s just great to build on yesterday’s performance really,” said Hanson. “I feel like I have played very similar all week, but holed those putts today, and although I made a few mistakes, I saved a few of them, and made some birdies as well.

“We got one hole of the rain on the back nine, at the 14th, and I hit it into the trees there. I had to take a penalty drop as a result and did well to make a bogey, which was a really good momentum saver, as that could have been much worse.

“That last hole is brutal, and we had it into the wind today. I hit a three wood and a four iron to 50 feet and I was absolutely over the moon with it. It is one of the strongest finishing holes we will play all year.

“I was in a similar position in St Omer a few weeks ago, and my game wasn’t quite on there, but I feel much better this week. Obviously I have gained plenty of confidence in the last few days, and it has been a hectic week, but I’ve tried not to overdo it, which might be the new approach from now on.”

Alongside Hanson and Roos is Åkesson, who has been playing very well of late, after a tie for sixth last week at the Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts. Like Hanson he fired a five under par score of 67 on Saturday, and will be eager to claim a maiden title at the end of 72 holes.

A shot adrift of the leaders is Alessandro Tadini, who has won four times on the Challenge Tour, but not since 2012. He has come to Germany off the back of consecutive ties for 12th place at both the Fred Olsen Challenge de España and the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open in recent weeks, and the Italian fired a 68 in the third round to be in contention on Sunday.

Two strokes further back is Dylan Frittelli, at eight under par, after a 67 of his own on Saturday. He is a shot clear of six players in a tie for sixth place, which includes Challenge de Catalunya winner Pedro Oriol (68).

Alongside him is Jason Barnes (67), Cyril Bouniol (70), Matteo Delpodio (70), Jaako Makitalo (70) and Andrew Marshall (68). Meanwhile the only multiple winner of the season, Moritz Lampert, is eight shots off the pace in a tie for 29th after a one over par 73.

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