Joost Luiten will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the BMW International Open as he goes in search of his seventh DP World Tour victory.
All Irish interest waned in disappointing fashion as Tom McKibbin and John Murphy meekly missed the 36-hole cut, but with Ryder Cup points up for grabs and the window to catch Luke Donald’s attention shrinking, those who survived the chop are eager to put themselves in the picture.
The Dutchman posted a bogey-free seven under par round of 65 – the low round of the week so far – to take control at Golfclub München Eichenried and will play in tomorrow’s final group alongside countryman Daan Huizing, who sits second on 11 under par following a red-hot five under back nine to post a round of 66.
The 37-year-old, whose last DP World Tour triumph came at the 2018 NBO Oman Open, went close to his second hole-in-one in as many days as his approach to the second finished just inches from the hole and that set the tone for the day.
He added gains at the seventh and ninth to make the turn at three under before four more birdies arrived on the back nine, including three in the last four holes to seize the advantage in the German capital.
South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence and Italian Edoardo Molinari each carded rounds of 66 to join second round leader Daniel Hillier in a tie for third on ten under par, with Japan’s Rikuya Hoshino and Finn Sami Välimäki joining leading German Max Schmitt two shots further back on eight under.
Nine eagles were carded on day three in Germany, including a first DP World Tour hole-in-one for Scotland’s Connor Syme, raising the fundraising total for the tournament’s Eagles for Education initiative to €50,000.
“Today was pretty much flawless,” Luiten said afterwards. “I didn’t get into trouble that much and if I did miss the fairway I hit a great shot and still created a birdie chance. I made some nice birdies coming down the last four or five holes.
“Since I’ve started working with Jamie (Gough), I’ve got so much variety in shot options, especially when it’s windy like yesterday. That’s where I’ve always struggled and I’ve got a lower ball flight in the bag now and I think that helps me a lot. Everything feels really solid and that’s definitely thanks to Jamie.
“We’ve got another 18 holes here and I’ve got to keep a cool head. I’ve got to hit some shots like I did today and we’ll see what happens tomorrow but I’ve got to try and play shot-by-shot, like I did today, and if I do that I’ll see if it’s good enough.”