England's Paul Casey justified Sam Torrance's decision to consider him seriously for a Ryder Cup wild card after a course-record 62 in the £1.8million Linde German Masters here yesterday.
Casey sank nine birdies and an eagle at the par-72 Gut Larchenhof for a 19 under par total of 197 and a two-shot lead. He made a blistering start on Saturday afternoon with six birdies in his first seven holes to reach the turn in 30, six under for the round, and recovered from a bogey on the 10th to card three more birdies and an eagle on the closing stretch. "I wasn't too aware of the possibility of such a score until around the 14th hole because I was just chasing the leaders and trying to get back into contention after dropping a shot on the 10th," Casey said.
Germany's Alex Cejka and Australia's Stephen Leaney are his nearest challengers, two shots adrift on 199. Cejka equalled Rodger Davis' previous course record of 63 and Leaney carded a 66. Ian Woosnam was a shot further back after a 68 alongside Worthing's Gary Evans, who carded a 65 on a day of low scoring.
None of the eight Ryder Cup players who survived the cut – only Wales' Phillip Price missed out – is seriously threatening to claim the £315,000 first prize, but it was still widely encouraging news for Torrance. The veteran German Bernhard Langer was the best-placed of them on 12 under par after a 66, Colin Montgomerie was one behind after his round of 68, while Pierre Fulke was 10 under after recording 66 alongside Padraig Harrington.
Montgomerie seems in good health after his season-long back problem: "It has been a bit of a test this week and hopefully, come tomorrow, I should have come out of that OK," he said. Thomas Bjorn carded a 70 to lie nine under, Lee Westwood fell back with a 73 after two of his best rounds for a long time, while Paul McGinley signed for a 71.
Nick Faldo left himself with plenty to do to qualify for next week's American Express Championship. After a third-round 69 Faldo lies 21st in the Order of Merit and needs to move into the top 20 to earn a place at Mount Juliet.
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