Friday, 19 March 2010

(Reuters) Sweden’s Niclas Fasth and José-Filipe Lima of Portugal will lead the field into the final round of the BMW International Open after finishing level on 11 under par 205 at Golfclub München Eichenried.

An eagle on the 11th took first round joint-leader Lima back in front of the pack but second round front-runner Fasth climbed back on top of the leaderboard alongside him after a closing birdie four.

A two under par 70 by Lima and 73 by Fasth left the pair two shots in front of 47 year old South African David Frost (70), Frenchman Thomas Levet (72) and England’s Nick Dougherty (71).

Lima, battling back to form after a worrying time with back problems, cited staying calm about missing fairways and putts in the windy conditions, on a course toughened up by thicker rough this year.

The Portuguese, born in Versailles where his father worked at St Nom la Breteche golf course, shrugged off his bad holes to contend strongly again.

After falling back with a double-bogey on the eighth, Lima vaulted ahead of the field with a raking 45ft putt on the 11th.

"I stuck to the same game plan I've had all week and thought calmly," he said. "If I missed some shots or putts I tried to forget it and get on with it."

While Lima is trying to add to his 2004 Aa St Omer Open success, joint leader Fasth is looking for his sixth European Tour International Schedule victory, the week after finishing fourth in the US Open Championship at Oakmont.

Fasth began confidently enough and increased his overnight lead to three shots, but wavered with four bogeys on the front nine to allow Lima to take over.

Even then the Swede nearly edged ahead on the last where his eagle putt just failed to drop. Fasth refuted a suggestion that he might be feeling the effects of his US Open efforts in the third round.

"I might well have felt more energetic if I'd had a week off but I've cut back on practice and made a little bit of a compromise this week and I'm still strong," he said.

Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez is amongst a group of three players three shots off the lead in a share of sixth place. He boosted his round of 69 with an eagle two on the 16th, driving the green at the 319 yard hole before knocking in a 12 foot putt

The European Tour triple winner said he has been inspired this week by his fellow countryman Angel Cabrera's US Open victory last week.

"Cabrera's win has opened my mind," he said. "It says to me that I can do the same and I will certainly be doing my best tomorrow."

Bernhard Langer's bid to claim the only German title he has not won looked good when he raced six under par for the day by the 13th but the 49 year old faltered coming dropping two strokes in the last three holes for a 68 which left him five shots off the lead.

World Number Five Ernie Els looks to have lost his victory chance after a 74 left the South African seven strokes behind.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1FASTH, NiclasSWE18-13
T2LANGER, BernhardGER18-11
T2LIMA, José-FilipePOR18-11
T4LAFEBER, MaartenNED18-10
T4HANSEN, AndersDEN18-10
T4GONZALEZ, RicardoARG18-10
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