Thomas Björn of Denmark and Spain’s Carl Suneson share the lead going into the final round of the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried after a tough, windy day which saw Bernhard Langer move into contention for the only title he has failed to win in his native Germany.
Björn, the halfway lead, shot a 69 for a 15 under par total of 201 while Suneson, born in Spain to a Swedish father and English mother, fired a third successive 67 to tie the impressively consistent Dane.
Daren Lee of Essex, currently No.143 on the Volvo Order of Merit and seeking a substantial pay day to increase his prospects of gaining all-exempt status next season, shot a superb third round 66 – sharing the best of the day with home favourite Langer.
Lee finished on 202, 14 under par, two in front of Langer who, after claiming ten titles in Germany, has his sights firmly fixed on a first BMW International Open.
Björn holed two tricky par-saving putts on the 16th and 17th then birdied the 18th from eight feet to sustain his challenge for a first title of the year. He admitted: “I need to win more tournaments and I might as well start here. I’ve got the experience to go out there and be patient.”
He plays in the final three-ball with Suneson and Lee, who are respectively 114th and 143rd on the Volvo Order of Merit and can secure their cards in one good afternoon. Björn added: “They are both very good players. Carl won the Challenge Tour last year and you don’t do that without playing really well. Daren just needs to hang in there and grind it out to keep their cards. They have both put themselves in a great position to change their lives.”
Suneson, 33, insisted he aims to draw on the experience of winning three times on the Challenge Tour last year following some difficult times in which he suffered from an over-active thyroid and was diagnosed as a diabetes sufferer.
“Both problems are under control now” he said. “This is exciting. I learned a lot from playing the Challenge Tour but I also had to learn how to be more relaxed on the course. I’ve started seeing psychologist Jos Vanstiphout this week for the first time and he’s said some things which were pretty good.”
Lee is bracing himself for one of the biggest days of his career. He feels he is due a change of luck after being first reserve to play in the Murphy’s Irish Open, the Smurfit European Open and the JP McManus Pro-Am. He played in none of them and lost money on his flights to Ireland.
After playing 11 straight weeks, including Challenge Tour events, he admitted: “It would be very nice to retain my card. It gives you a better opportunity next year to play in bigger events and to pick and choose. I haven’t been in this position before and I will try to stay relaxed and enjoy it.”
Langer, with four birdies in a row from the second, slipped up a gear to fire the 66 which elevated him to fourth place. With five German Opens, three German Masters, a Deutsche Bank Open and a Honda Open to his name in Germany, he needs the BMW to complete the set.
He said with a smile: “My life will go on if I don’t win – but at least if I won it would stop people asking why I haven’t won it!”Final round tee-times