Hansen keeps his nose in front

 

If Soren Hansen is to hang on and win his second European Tour title on Irish soil he will have to fend off some of the stern challenges emerging on the final day of the Smurfit Kappa European Open at K Club.

 Although the Dane started in the best way possible by making a birdie at the short second to move to 11-under for the tournament, he has heavyweights such as Colin Montgomerie and Niclas Fasth breathing down his neck.

The Scot was in particularly good form to be three-under for his opening six holes and just two behind the leader. The Swedish pair of Fasth and Peter Hanson are also on nine-under after both birdied two of their opening three holes.

Graeme McDowell hasn't been able to make the fast start he was looking for and remains where he started the day on six-under, after a bogey, one birdie and four pars.

Padraig Harrington found himself treading water and therefore in mid-table mediocrity. The pre-tournament was one-over through 15 holes which left the Dubliner one-under overall.

David Higgins closed with a two-over 72 to finish a tournament he got into on a sponsor's invite on one-over 281. The Waterville pro will still pick up a cheque for his efforts but at tied 57th it won't be as considerable as he would have liked.

The forecast for the rest of the afternoon is thunder and more rain but as yet that hasn't materialised. Tour officials opted to keep the 18th as a par three instead of returning it to the original par five.