Foster keeps cool to lead in Germany

6/25/2011 5:22:45 PM
Mark Foster  (Getty Images)
Mark Foster (Getty Images)
England’s Mark Foster will take a two shot lead into the final round of the BMW International Open after firing a 66 in Munich.

The 35 year old from Worksop - also the home of World Number Two Lee Westwood - has won only once in 278 starts on The European Tour and that was eight years ago.

But he stood 14 under par and saw his advantage doubled when joint halfway leader George Coetzee finished his 70 with a bogey six.

That dropped the South African into a tie for second with compatriot Retief Goosen, England's Robert Coles and Spanish pair Pablo Larrazabal and back-to-form Sergio Garcia - up from 30th with a best-of-the-day 64.

As for Swede Henrik Stenson, who shared top spot overnight, he put two balls in the water on the long 11th and three-putted for a quadruple bogey nine before finishing with a hat-trick of birdies to be five behind.

Foster was three ahead at both last year's Open de Espaa and this season's Open de Andalucia presented by Turkish Airlines, but finished third and fourth respectively.

"I know I've got it in me - it flicks in and out," said the former English Amateur Champion. 

"I've done it enough times to know that anything can happen.

"I've not been playing so much so I can be mentally stronger. That's my plan for this year and I will see how it goes.

"That was the key today. I'm making the right decisions and if something goes wrong I'm reacting in the right way."

Garcia's charge gives him the chance not only to register his first victory for over two and a half years - he fell from second in the Official World Golf Ranking to outside the top 80 in that time - but also rescue a place in next month's Open Championship at Sandwich.

Joint seventh at last week's US Open, the 31 year old grabbed nine birdies after starting the day six behind and even led on his own for a while.

A top-four finish could give Garcia one of two Open places up for grabs off a mini-money list that has been running on The European Tour for the past month.

But there is hot competition for them. Foster could take one by coming second and Coles by winning.

"I knew for British Open purposes I needed to do something special," said Garcia, who a month ago pulled out of a qualifying event in America because of an infected fingernail.

"Last week was good - it was nice to be up there in a Major again.

"I didn't have a chance to win because Rory (McIlroy) was playing out of his mind, but it feels like the game is coming along and I think my putting is definitely improving."

Garcia, who made it into the US Open only through a qualifying play-off, has not missed a Major since the 1999 Open at Carnoustie.

Larrazabal also required first or second in The Open Championship battle two weeks after losing in near-darkness on the sixth hole of a qualifying play-off at Sunningdale - against Coetzee.

He led in Germany by two with three to play last year, but double-bogeyed the 16th and bogeyed the 17th on that occasion.

Coles, meanwhile, was seeking his first European Tour win in more than 300 events - four months after he was joint leader with a par five to come in Delhi and then ran up a bogey six.

Eighteen year old Matteo Manassero, meanwhile, might yet record his third European Tour victory. A 66 left him four shots back, but home favourite and World Number Three Martin Kaymer could manage only a 72 and was eight adrift.