Owen's path to goal barred by veteran Langer

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The Independent Online

Mansfield's Greg Owen will adopt a "chilled out" approach as he chases his maiden European Tour victory in Cologne today.

Owen carded a third-round 67 at Gut Larchenhof to end the day in joint second, one shot behind the home favourite, Bernhard Langer, in the race for the £278,000 first prize. The German, seeking his 11th Tour victory on home soil and 39th in total, birdied the last for a 68 to keep his nose in front on 17 under par, with the Australian Stephen Leaney and the Swede Fredrik Jacobson sharing second place with Owen.

The former Open champion John Daly is also in contention to complete a German double a month after winning the BMW International Open in Munich, his first title since St Andrews in 1995. A brilliant 64 left him just three off the pace, with English pair David Lynn and Gary Evans and South African Roger Wessels also on 14 under.

Owen briefly led the Open at Royal Lytham this year, but has yet to convert several good performances into a victory. He hopes the experience of playing with Ricardo Gonzalez in Switzerland last month will pay off, however, after watching how the laid-back Argentinian went on to win his first title at Crans-sur-Sierre.

"I'd never been in the last group on the last day before until Switzerland, so this is the second time in three weeks," said Owen, who had six birdies and one bogey in his 67. "Ricardo was so chilled out and he went on to win comfortably, and I have to go out with that attitude tomorrow.

"Normally I get wound up and think, 'Come on, let's do something' and you can't do that. I had a great chance to do well in the Open and still say I did well for myself to get into that position, but I have got to learn when I get in those positions that that's not it. [He finished 23rd]. You can't get over-excited until the last putt goes in and have to keep yourself on a level plain."

Langer began the day two shots ahead of the field but could never quite shake off the attentions of the chasing pack and was grateful for his closing birdie to maintain his advantage.

"A few loose shots, a couple of missed birdies, but I played well – I didn't want to give up the lead," Langer said. "It's very close and whoever is within four shots of the lead still has a chance if they can shoot really low," added Langer, who has already won this event – which he co-promotes and runs with brother Erwin – three times.

Leaney thought his chance had gone after an outward half of 37 but came racing home in 30 thanks to four birdies and an eagle.

"I was worried I was getting left behind but kept hanging on in there and the chip-in on the 15th really got me going," said the Australian, who has three Tour titles to his credit.

Langer acknowledged that Daly is likely to be one of his biggest threats on a largely inexperienced leaderboard, and the double major winner feels he is in some of the form of his life.

"It's been three days of solid play but nothing really happened the first two days and it was nice to finally see some putts go in the hole," Daly said.

"It's been fun. I feel good when I'm going to step up on to the tee. I feel like I'm going to play decent, solid golf and it's nice to know all I am worried about is making some putts instead of trying to control the golf ball.

"I feel I'm starting to control it better than I have done before. I had some spurts in 1991 and 1992 but for a whole year this has been the most consistent I've played. I feel I am hopefully close to winning in the States again."

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