Friday, 19 March 2010

History looks like it could be repeating itself as, seven weeks after Anders Hansen won the BMW PGA Championship, Søren Hansen is on the verge of victory in Ireland as he takes a two stroke advantage into the final round of the Smurfit Kappa European Open.

Five years ago Anders won his maiden title when he captured the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club and two months later Søren followed him into the winners’ enclosure when he triumphed for the first time, winning the Irish Open.

Up until two months ago neither Dane had won since but Anders won The European Tour’s flagship event for a second time in May and now Søren has the chance to once again follow his namesake by claiming the title at The K Club.

A third round of 63, equalling Peter O'Malley's low score of the day, propelled Søren to the top of the leaderboard, his ten under par aggregate of 200 leaving him two strokes clear of England’s Robert Rock, with  O’Malley of Australia, Frenchman Gregory Havret and the Swede’s Niclas Fasth and Peter Hanson, who holed-in-one on the last, a further shot back on seven under par.

It is the second time in successive weeks that Hansen has led after three rounds. Three birdies to finish, holing putts from 15, 40 and 12 feet, took him clear of the field. Hansen was three ahead going into the final round of the Open de France ALSTOM at Le Golf National last week but two double-bogeys in the first six holes ultimately cost him his first victory since the 2002 Irish Open.

"Without a win for five years is a long time," the 33 year old said.

"But I will take it one step at a time because last week I was sitting here saying the same thing. I have come off a terrible season but now I am playing good golf and putting myself in contention and that’s what it is all about.”

A victory would cover a certain amount of embarrassment for Hansen, who forgot to enter this month's Open Championship.

His only route to Carnoustie to finish as the highest non-exempt player within the top ten here at The K Club or at next week's Barclay’s Scottish Open.

Rock has a chance to make his breakthrough as he goes out in the final group for the first time. Despite a couple  of bogeys on the par fives but four birdies in his last eight holes gives him a great chance to improve on his 134th position on The Order of Merit.

“I have been out here long enough, this is my fifth season and it is not much fun being at the bottom end of the Order of Merit so I will just try and ignore that and then enjoy the fact I am in contention and hopefully I will have a chance going into the last few holes tomorrow,” he said. “If I play like I did today then I won’t be too far away.”

Fasth, who won last month's BMW International Open in Munich, marred his chances of a second triumph in three weeks with a closing bogey. The Swede, who also finished fourth in the US Open, is however feeling “horrific” as he struggles with a bout of flu and was certainly struggling towards the end of his 70.

Hanson staged a grandstand finish when he aced the 18th hole, shortened from a par five to a par three, with a six iron to also finish on seven under par after a 66.

Colin Montgomerie's bid for a first victory in 19 months faded with two late bogeys that left the 44 year old Scot four strokes off the pace in the group that also includes Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell who leads the home challenge after a round of 65 left him on six under par 204.


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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2FASTH, NiclasSWE18-10
T3HAVRET, GrégoryFRA18-9
T3WALL, AnthonyENG18-9
T3EDBERG, PelleSWE18-9
T3HANSON, PeterSWE18-9
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