Willett takes third-round lead at BMW International Open by one shot

Danny Willett at the BMW International Open
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Danny Willett took the lead Saturday with a 3-under 69 that included three bogeys in the difficult conditions.
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Series: European Tour

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2012 | 6:07 p.m.

COLOGNE, Germany -- England's Danny Willett will look for his first European Tour victory on Sunday as he begins the final round of the BMW International Open with a one-shot lead.

Willett carded a 3-under 69 to move one shot clear of fellow Englishman Chris Wood and overnight leader Joel Sjoholm, who surrendered his advantage with four bogeys on the opening nine holes.

It might have been better for Willett but he too had his share of trouble in difficult conditions, with three bogeys -- including one on the 18th -- trimming his lead.

"I got the ball under pretty good control most of the day," Willett said. "The wind was whipping around a bit, but I drove the ball great which makes it a lot easier around this golf course.

"If you want to be in contention, you have to have things go your way a little bit," he added. "It's good to be back in a position where I feel like I should be."

Sjoholm recovered from that rough start with a pair of birdies on the back nine, and at least left the course happy.

"I was in danger of a terrible finish, and instead I actually made two good pars out of nowhere," he said. "So it feels good, and I'm real excited for tomorrow. It's going to be a really, really great day because I really love this place."

Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti, who had been in a share of second after Friday's round, suffered a double bogey on the 18th to sign for a 72 and drop down into a share of sixth place, although that was nothing compared with the struggles of Paul McGinley.

The Irishman had also been in a share of second on Friday night, but six bogeys condemned him to a score of 77 and sent him tumbling into a tie for 27th place.

With the leaders struggling, others took their chance. South African had the joint-best score of the day, eagling the par-5 third en route to a 67 that left him two shots off the lead in a tie for fourth alongside Marcus Fraser, who birdied the 18th to sign for 68.

"I played really well at the start and gave myself a lot of chances," said Fraser, playing himself back into contention having held a share of the lead after the first round. "I missed a couple of putts but overall pretty happy. I scrambled pretty well from the start of the back nine and managed to birdie the last which capped off a good day.

"Yesterday was good in my mind in that I didn't put myself out of the tournament, because I didn't play great, and could have quite easily been well back but made a few putts and stayed in there. Today I played well and got back into it, so it was a good day."

Home favorite Marcel Siem is one of three players three shots off the lead, alongside Richard Sterne and Zanotti, having also recorded a 68.

Siem began in blistering form, making the turn in 31 after eagling the first hole, but he had four bogeys on the back nine and things could have been worse had he not avoided a penalty when his putter touched the ball on the 17th green.

"I had a great start and really enjoyed myself out there with the big crowd behind me," said Siem. "It was really cool . I had 75 metres to the flag, downwind, scruffy lie to be honest and I thought, it's going to be tough to get the ball stopping on the hole, and just nipped it nicely in the semi rough and it went in.

"That was great, the crowd was right there. It was awesome."

There was a humorous moment in Sjoholm's round when he was forced to confront a swan before playing his second shot at the fifth hole. The swan emerged from a water hazard guarding the green and started waddling toward the 26-year old Sjoholm who, with a wedge, began waving his hands, to no avail.

A rules official then arrived and managed to entice the swan back into the water.

Sjoholm birdied the hole but dropped three shots in the next four.

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie marked his 49th birthday with a 72 that included three bogeys over his closing five holes to remain at 1 under.