Hartø and Tiley set for Czech battle

13/10/2012 17:12:27
Andreas Hartø (foreground) and Steven Tiley (Martin Bergman) ()
Andreas Hartø (foreground) and Steven Tiley (Martin Bergman) ()
The inaugural D+D Real Czech Challenge Open was set for an almighty duel on Championship Sunday as Andreas Hartø and Steven Tiley effectively turned it into a two-horse race with the Dane maintaining a one-shot lead over his English counterpart, who was three clear of the chasing pack.

Both played their part in an enthralling battle in the final group on day three, with Tiley at one point coming from behind to take a two-shot lead before Hartø seized back the initiative and remained at the summit as they both signed for five under par rounds of 67.

It proved to be just a dress-rehearsal for what is set to be an intriguing face-off between two players who admitted they were bouncing off each other all day and relishing the challenge of what is sure to be a dramatic finale.

Hartø and Tiley matched each other blow for blow in the first three holes as they both birdied the par five second before the overnight leader from Copenhagen moved into a two shot lead with a birdie at the fourth.

Just as he was looking to stretch the gap at the top though, Tiley embarked on a run of three successive birdies from the fifth hole while Hartø proceeded to bogey the sixth and Tiley soared into a two shot lead.

There was another twist in the tale, however, as the tenth hole produced a two shot swing with Tiley’s bogey five and Hartø’s birdie three levelling them up on 14 under par.

Hartø birdied the 11th to grapple the lead back into Danish hands and then produced a moment of magic at the par five 14th as he found the cup from 50 yards to go two ahead. Tiley would not give in though, and he picked up shots at the 15th - thanks to a 20 foot putt - and 16th to remain on Hartø’s heels.

“I just played good again,” said Hartø. “I guess I hit a couple of bad shots but the bad shots are not that bad and not costly.

“I could have made a couple more on the front nine but, like I said yesterday, it’s hard to complain about a 67 and I’m very happy with the day.

“It is one of those weeks where if I have been in trouble I have managed to get out of it, like that chip-in at the 14th. I feel confident and I’m just playing good golf.

“Obviously there is a bit of a battle out there but it’s always nice to have someone to compete with a little. I like that and we drove each other along so I hope we can do that tomorrow too.

“I just need to try and do the same things I did in the first three days, it seems to work alright.”

Tiley also smiled knowingly at the suggestion of a tense but friendly rivalry unfolding on the fairways and greens of the Graham Marsh-designed venue and knows that he has a big task ahead of him to topple the determined Dane.

“On the back nine I just wanted to stick with him and make sure he doesn’t get away from me,” said the 30 year old. “When Andreas gets going there is no stopping him so I just tried to keep with him and then he chips in at the 14th with an incredible shot

“It was up and down all day so it was really good and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. He’s good to play with because he doesn’t let up one bit and you just have to hang on and keep close and then hope you have a good spell at the end and suddenly you have beaten him.

“We got away from the rest of the field a bit. You don’t need to push Andreas on though, he just does it himself. Other people would sit back a little but he is not like that.

“He has been there a couple of times before so let’s just see if I can keep with him and take it down the stretch.”

There are three players in a share of third place and hoping to battle their way back into contention, including two of Hartø’s compatriots Joachim B Hansen and Rasmus Hjelm, who also carded five under par third rounds of 67.

Welshman Garry Houston, meanwhile, stormed up the leaderboard with a six under 66 to join the Danes while Max Kieffer could not match his heroics of the second day, when he broke the course record with a 63, and signed for a third round 70 to finish the day tied sixth, five shots off the pace.