Martin Kaymer is poised to give the BMW International Open a 20th birthday to remember as he takes a six stroke lead into the final round in his bid to become the first home winner of the title.
Kaymer was firmly in control, holing a 25 foot putt on the final green at Golfclub München Eichenried for a five under par 67 to take him to 18 under par 198 and six clear of his closest rival, South African Charl Schwartzel. Joint third, one further back, are English trio Paul Casey, Ross Fisher and Benn Barham and Frenchman Thomas Levet.
Kaymer also led by six going into the final round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in January, and having shown he can win from the front looks a hard man to catch as he chases a second win of the year and a leap up the Ryder Cup Points List.
“I was in the same situation a couple of months ago already, so I know how it feels,” said the 23 year from Dusseldorf. I'm just looking forward to it. It's nice to have the chance to win in your own country, and I hope that there will be a lot of support tomorrow.”
Last year’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, who will be making his Open Championship debut at Royal Birkdale in a month's time opened a five-shot advantage with his 63 in the second round and thrilled his home crowd again with his flawless five under par round.
Kaymer had his overnight advantage cut to two by the time he teed off again in the glorious sunshine, but after birdies on the sixth, eighth and ninth, where he pitched to within inches of the hole, he was back firmly in the driving seat.
A chip-and-putt four on the long 11th widened the gap still further and the "old head on young shoulders", which Bernhard Langer talked about after being so impressed on the first two days, put the icing on the cake with a closing 25 footer.
Kaymer currently lies 10th in the Ryder Cup race, but can leap up to sixth with victory.
“It's always nice to have the big challenge, but I think there are at least seven, eight other guys that want to win, as well,” he added. “So I'm just trying to stick to my game plan tomorrow, play aggressive, but still smart, and so then I will see where I'm ending up.
“I had a couple more birdie chances on the back nine. I didn't make them, but still 67 is a good round. And especially with the finish on the 18th, I was not expecting to make birdie there with quite a long putt, so, that was a big bonus.”
Schwartzel, also 23, knows he has to shoot low to have any chance of catching Kaymer, but as Arjun Atwal proved when he came from seven behind to win the Maybank Malaysian Open earlier in the season, anything can happen.
“All of us know, it's a strange game, so I'm not too bothered by him,” said Schwartzel, after a round of 66 took him to 12 under 204. “He's obviously playing really well. I'll have to shoot quite a low one tomorrow. If I can get to 20 under, I think I'll be close, but you never know what is going to happen.”
Iain Pyman had the low round of the day, an eight under 64 which lifted the former Amateur Champion from the cut line to nine under par.