Ernie Els (Getty Images)
Ernie Els was joined by France’s Alexander Levy and Swede Alex Noren in a three-way tie at the top of a bunched leaderboard
going into the final round of the BMW International Open.
South African Els started the day a shot ahead of Levy and England’s Matthew Baldwin, but after play had been delayed by two hours and 20 minutes by heavy rain the four-time Major winner had several three-putts in his third round before recovering strongly with three birdies in his last five holes for a three under par 69.
His two-putt gain at the last saw The Open Champion draw level with Levy and Noren, with Baldwin and Dane Thomas Björn a shot further back.
“All in all I've got to be happy,” said Els, who had held the outright lead since opening with a brilliant 63 at Golfclub München Eichenried.
“I was a little out of sorts on the greens on the front nine - I didn't quite get the pace of the greens. They are a little bit faster for some reason and I kept hitting it past and then didn't make the returns, but I made a little slight adjustment and played some proper stuff coming in.
“If it wasn't for those three three putts I had, I would have had a really good score.
“I was playing so nicely that I felt I'm trying to pull away from the field, and then the opposite happened, and I made some mistakes.
“I'm in a good position still, just hanging onto the lead or co
leader now, and tomorrow is all to play for.”
Qualifying School graduate Levy has yet to finish better than tenth in his fledgling European Tour career, but held his nerve to card four birdies and two bogeys – one of which could have been far worse after he drove into a bush on the 15th – in a round of 68.
“I played very well,” said the 22 year old. “I'm very happy. It was great for me to play with a fantastic player [Els].
“It's nice to play with him, very happy. It was unbelievable.
“It was tough, but I like this position. I practiced for that and I'm happy to be in this position for tomorrow.
“I like to play in the top, I prefer this position. I want to be like that all the time.
“I don't know what happens tomorrow, but I will go to make
the job like today, and play golf on a golf course in good condition and I am happy.”
Noren started the day three adrift, but turned in a four under par 32 and birdied the 11th to take the outright lead.
A bogey at the 15th saw him overtaken, but he holed a 25 foot eagle putt at
16th saw him finish in
the leading group.
“I hit a lot of good shots and a few bad ones, but you always do,” said Noren.
“You've got to be aggressive, because there are so many guys. The leaderboard
is as tight as ever with so many good players. Yeah, I've got to be aggressive and maybe more aggressive tomorrow than today.
“I came off the bogey on 15, and it was a perfect distance for
the three wood and I hit it great. Marcel [Siem] hit it really close just
before me, so I knew it was possible, but then I managed to hole the putt, it was great.”
American Peter Uihlein lies sixth on his own at 13 under, but a group of five players sit
just three off the lead on
12 under including home favourites
Martin Kaymer and Marcel Siem.
They were both round in 69, to share seventh with Dutchman Joost Luiten (67), South African Brandon Stone (67) on his professional debut and defending champion Danny Willett (70).