Li Haotong holds 3-shot lead at BMW Open

Li Haotong holds 3-shot lead at BMW Open

MUNICH — Li Haotong had eagle on the same hole for the third day running as he opened up a 3-shot lead of the BMW International Open on Saturday ahead of the final round.

Starting the day ahead by 1 stroke, Li was 5 under for the day and 20 under for the tournament. He was nearly further ahead but for a bogey on the 18th.

“It’s actually a lot [more] comfortable than I thought. Quite surprised,” Li said. “It’s just another perfect day for me.”

Li completed the par-5 sixth at Golfclub München Eichenried in 3 shots on Thursday and Friday, but Saturday was the pick of the bunch as he hit a 21-yard chip into the hole. “Somehow it managed to go in,” he said.

Li has two wins on the European tour at the 2016 China Open and the 2018 Dubai Desert Classic. The latter win, when he beat Rory McIlroy by one stroke, made him the first Chinese player to be ranked in the men’s top 50.

Thomas Pieters moved into second with a 6-under 66 including an eagle and three birdies on the back nine. “I just look forward to a really lovely day tomorrow and hopefully a lot of birdies,” he said.

Jordan Smith was 1 shot further back at 16 under in third place, while Darius van Driel and Ryan Fox were another stroke back after Van Driel managed the joint-best score of the day with an 8-under 64.

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