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Hovland on the brink of history in Germany

Hovland on the brink of history in Germany

Viktor Hovland was on course to become the first Norwegian winner in European Tour history after a brilliant 64 handed him a three shot lead heading into the final round of the 2021 BMW International Open.

Viktor Hovland

The World Number 14 carded a 68 on day one despite finding the water three times and since then he has not looked back, adding a 67 and his bogey free effort in round three to get to 17 under at Golfclub München Eichenried.

Spaniard Jorge Campillo carded a 67 to be the nearest challenger, a shot clear of South African Darren Fichardt and three ahead of Irishman Niall Kearney and Austria's Bernd Wiesberger.

Hovland already has two wins on the US PGA Tour and is currently 12th on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, having finished second at the WGC - Workday Championship at The Concession and sixth at the Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers.

That form on both sides of the Atlantic makes him a strong favourite to become the first Norwegian to play in the Ryder Cup in September - but he will be looking to enter the history books before that in Bavaria.

Henrik Bjornstad is the only Norwegian to ever hold a 54 hole lead on the European and after he went on finish second at the 2002 Hong Kong Open, Hovland would love to go one better.

"Growing up I mainly grew up watching the European Tour every Saturday and Sunday morning, that was my routine," he said.

"We've had some runner up finishes in the past and it would be really cool for Norway to get our first win."

He added: "I'm just trying to stay within myself. Obviously I look at the leaderboard to see where I'm at but instead of trying to force things, I just tell myself at the start of the day that if I just take control of my own game and don't waste shots here and there, just play smart and trust that I'm doing the right things then I think I should have a really good shot tomorrow."

Fichardt made a big early move as he drove the par four fourth and holed from 18 feet for an eagle, made a birdie from the fringe at the eighth and a two putt gain on the ninth to turn in 32.

Another two putt birdie on a par five at the 11th put him in a share of the lead and that was soon a five way tie, with Hovland a part of it.

The 23-year-old had put his approach at the first to eight feet and then got up and down at the par five sixth to hit the summit.

Fichardt hit a nice approach of his own to five feet at the 16th but Hovland hit back with another up-and-down on the ninth before the man twice his age made a very long two putt from off the green at the 18th to sign for a 65 and set the target.

Hovland joined him with a two putt of his own at the 11th, and an approach to seven feet at the 13th and a 12 footer at the 14th meant the top ranked player in the field was two ahead.

Campillo was playing alongside Hovland and after bogeying the third and birdieing the fifth to turn in 36, he made a big move on the back nine.

The 35-year-old made the most of the 11th, put his tee shot to three feet at the 12th and left himself a similar distance at the 14th before driving to the front of the green at the 16th and getting up and down.

But he was three back as his playing partner made a two putt birdie to extend the lead further.

Hovland found sand off the tee at the last and while he came up short after taking a three wood out of the bunker, he got up and down for another birdie, with Campillo also picking up a shot with two putts.

Wiesberger chipped in at the first and holed a long putt at the third but could not make any further progress with two birdies and two bogeys in a 70, while overnight leader Kearney recorded three birdies and three bogeys in a 72.

South African trio Justin Harding, Shaun Norris and Daniel van Tonder were at ten under alongside German amateur Matthias Schmid and England's Andy Sullivan.

Sweden's Vincent Norrman had a day to remember as he made his professional debut on the European Tour, holing a three wood from 270 yards on the par four 16th for a hole-in-one albatross.

It was the 23rd ace of the season and second on a par four after South Korean Kyongjun Moon at the Kenya Savannah Classic supported by Absa.

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