Kaymer leads in Paris

7/3/2010 6:55:06 PM
Martin Kaymer  (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer (Getty Images)

Defending champion Martin Kaymer completed a fantastic day for German sport by establishing a one shot lead going into the final round at the Alstom Open de France.

While his country's footballers were beating Argentina 4-0 to reach the World Cup semi-finals, Kaymer set about a level par round of 71 at Le Golf National.

Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares had looked set to maintain his overnight advantage, but went into the water twice on the last three holes and saw his three stroke lead disappear.

One of the most dramatic finishing stretches in European golf - which could be the venue for The 2018 Ryder Cup - claimed yet another victim and left defending champion Kaymer in front with a round to go.

First Cañizares, whose father José Maria was a Ryder Cup hero at The Belfry in 1989, pushed his tee shot to Le Golf National's short 16th into the lake.

Then, one ahead after a double bogey there, he failed to make the carry with his approach to the 470 yard 18th.

Dropping two more strokes there gave Cañizares a two over par 73 and on eight under he now shares second place with England's Steve Webster, one behind Kaymer.

The German, who last year won the Alstom Open de France and Barclays Scottish Open back-to-back, needed only a 71 to take over at the top, while Webster shot 70 on a day when the morning's play was washed out.

Kaymer, delighted with his position, said of Cañizares finishing as he did: "It was obviously a little bit tough to see.

"You want to play well to get into the lead and I didn't play well, to be honest.

"I hit a lot of bad iron shots, but I kept it together."

On the possibility of repeating his summer double last year he added: "Next week is one of my favourite courses, so why not?

"This is one of the biggest tournaments we have on The European Tour. To win it once is a big once, but to win it twice would be awesome."

Webster and Cañizares have something in addition to the title to fight for.

There is one Open Championship spot up for grabs. For Webster it would mean a return to St Andrews, where he beat Tiger Woods to be leading amateur in 1995, and for Cañizares it would be a first Major - after ten failed attempts to qualify for The Open Championship and US Open Championship.

Six players are tied for fourth on seven under and right back in it thanks to Cañizares falling back.

Webster believes a performance similar to his third round 70 could be enough.

He said: “Hopefully more of the same. I'm swinging the club well - just make a few putts and we'll take it from there.”