Levet, Jimenez lead BMW Open

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/g/golfgeneric.jpg' class='caption'> Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and France's Thomas Levet shared Saturday's third-round lead at the BMW International Open.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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The close fight for European Ryder Cup berths headed into the final day at the BMW International Open, where Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and France's Thomas Levet shared Saturday's third-round lead. Levet fired a 63, missing the course record by a stroke, while Jimenez recorded a 67 as both players moved two clear of the field on the 15-under-par total of 201. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa and Austria's Markus Brier were two behind the leaders on 13-under going into Sunday's crucial final 18 holes. Leader Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain is chasing his fourth European tour title this year at the BMW International Open, where a shakeout for the final Ryder Cup berths is underway. Jimenez and France's Thomas Levet have both wrapped up berths on the European team that faces the Americans in September, removing themselves from the pressure of the Ryder Cup race that's dominated the event, the last chance to qualify. Everyone fighting for the four undecided qualifying berths and two captain's picks remained lodged near the top of the leaderboard, leaving the make-up of the team unclear until after Sunday's final round. Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson, entering 13th, is threatening to bump one off the European squad with his high position on the leaderboard. He is at 204, three off the lead after a third round 68. South African Retief Goosen and Austria's Markus Brier were two behind the leaders at 13-under 203, while Paul McGinley, who sank the winning Ryder Cup putt at The Belfry in 2002, and Colin Montgomerie were part of a foursome another stroke back at 204. Montgomerie, snapping out of a deep slump, now has rounds of 67-70-67, boosting his hopes of gaining a pick. The big Scotsman was a mainstay of five winning European teams. The four open spots will be determined by the seventh to 10th spots on the European money list. Paul Casey is seventh on the list, followed by fellow Englishmen David Howell, Ian Poulter, and McGinley. Peter Fowler of Australia shot a 64 for a share of fifth place while Brier carded a 67 to join Goosen in a share of third. The Ryder Cup, to be played at Michigan's Oakland Hills, has cast such a presence over the tournament that Jimenez just smiled when Levet passed him for the lead late in the round. Jimenez caught Levet by sinking this 18th-hole birdie after the Frenchman rattled off seven birdies and an eagle without dropping a shot, just missing the Nord-Eichenried course record of 62 shared by several golfers. Levet sealed his berth on the European team with a fifth-placed finish at the British Open Championship. (AP)

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