Viktor Hovland moves up a gear as Niall Kearney’s BMW challenge stalls

Norwegian star goes three clear in Munich after bogey-free 64

Viktor Hovland of Norway plays his second shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried  in Munich. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Viktor Hovland of Norway plays his second shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the BMW International Open at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried in Munich. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

Niall Kearney’s hopes of victory in the BMW International Open stalled on moving day in Munich on Saturday as Ryder Cup hopeful Viktor Hovland carded a brilliant bogey-free 64 to take a three-shot lead into the final round in Munich.

Dubliner Kearney started the day two shots clear but a level-par 72 that included three birdies and three bogeys saw him remain on 11 under as Hovland motored past him to take the lead.

The world number 14 is currently heading to Whistling Straits by virtue of his international performances but a maiden European Tour victory on Sunday could further cement his place as part of Pádraig Harrington’s European team.

He would also become the first ever Norwegian winner on the European Tour, having already secured that honour in the United States with two victories on the PGA Tour.

His eight birdies on day three in Germany moved him to 17 under and gave him a commanding advantage over Spaniard Jorge Campillo, but the 23-year-old was refusing to get carried away.

“I just try to stay within myself,” he said. “Obviously I look at leaderboards to see where I’m at, but instead of trying to force things, I just tell myself at the start of the day just to take control of my own game.

“If I don’t waste shots here and there, just play smart, trust that I’m doing the right things, I think I should have a really good shot tomorrow.”

Ireland’s Niall Kearney plays his second shot on the fifth hole during his third round at the BMW International Open in Munich. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Ireland’s Niall Kearney plays his second shot on the fifth hole during his third round at the BMW International Open in Munich. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

He added: “Growing up I mainly watched the European Tour every Saturday and Sunday morning. That was my routine. We’ve had some runner-up finishes in the past but yes it would be really cool for Norway to get our first win.”

A wonderful approach to the first and an up-and-down on the sixth had Hovland in a share of the lead but he had to also take advantage of the par-five ninth and 11th to keep pace with South African Darren Fichardt, who carded a 65 to set the target at 13 under.

He then hit smart approaches into the 13th and 14th, drove the green at the par-four 16th and got up and down for birdie on the par-five last to take control.

Campillo turned in level par but made gains on the 11th, 12th, 14th, 16th and 18th to cling to the coattails of his playing partner.

Kearney, who finished fourth at the Canary Islands Championship earlier in the season, will start the final round in Munich alongside Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, with England’s Andy Sullivan at 10 under.

Leaderboard

British and Irish unless stated, par 72

199 Viktor Hovland (Nor) 68 67 64

202 Jorge Campillo (Esp) 67 68 67

203 Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 67 71 65

205 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 67 68 70, Niall Kearney 65 68 72

206 Shaun Norris (Rsa) 67 69 70, Justin Harding (Rsa) 69 69 68, Daniel van Tonder (Rsa) 70 71 65, Andy Sullivan 68 69 69, Matthias Schmid (Ger) 68 69 69

207 Martin Kaymer (Ger) 70 67 70, Sam Horsfield 64 77 66, Justin Walters (Rsa) 72 66 69, Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 69 69 69, Matthew Jordan 67 70 70

208 Pablo Larrazabal (Esp) 66 70 72, Min-Woo Lee (Aus) 66 73 69, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 70 72 66, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 70 67 71, Takumi Kanaya (Jpn) 72 67 69, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 65 70 73, Sebastian Garcia (Esp) 64 73 71

209 Antoine Rozner (Fra) 76 66 67, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 73 68 68, Vincent Norrman (Swe) 69 69 71, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 69 73 67, Andrew Johnston 66 75 68, Calum Hill 69 68 72, Adrien Saddier (Fra) 66 69 74, Wil Besseling (Ned) 72 69 68, Matthew Baldwin 68 73 68

210 Richard Mansell 74 68 68, Sergio Garcia (Esp) 73 69 68, Rasmus Hoejgaard (Den) 70 70 70, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 71 70 69, David Horsey 71 70 69, Andres Romero (Arg) 72 68 70, Alejandro Canizares (Esp) 69 71 70, Si-Hwan Kim (USA) 70 68 72, Nicolai Hoejgaard (Den) 70 69 71, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 69 72 69

211 Adrian Otaegui (Esp) 68 69 74, Ignacio Elvira (Esp) 69 70 72, Sean Crocker (USA) 71 67 73, James Morrison 73 69 69, Kristoffer Broberg (Swe) 70 71 70, Josh Geary (Nzl) 69 71 71

212 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 71 71 70, Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) 68 73 71, Julien Guerrier (Fra) 69 72 71, Robin Roussel (Fra) 71 69 72, Darius van Driel (Ned) 71 71 70, Maverick Antcliff (Aus) 70 69 73, Benjamin Poke (Den) 72 69 71, Garrick Porteous 67 71 74, Dale Whitnell 69 73 70, J. C. Ritchie (Rsa) 66 72 74, Marcel Schneider (Ger) 69 73 70, Daniel Gavins 69 71 72

213 Scott Hend (Aus) 73 68 72, Alvaro Quiros (Esp) 70 67 76, Jeff Winther (Den) 74 68 71, Louis de Jager (Rsa) 72 68 73

214 David Law 69 71 74, Philipp Mejow (Ger) 71 71 72, Freddy Schott (Ger) 73 69 72, Carlos Pigem (Esp) 74 68 72

215 Steven Brown 72 70 73, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 65 75 75, Soeren Kjeldsen (Den) 73 68 74, David Howell 74 68 73

216 Thorbjoern Olesen (Den) 69 73 74, Grant Forrest 69 73 74, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 71 71 74, Marc Warren 68 71 77

217 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 70 72 75

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