MUNICH – Frenchman Alexander Levy overcame two bogeys to shoot a 4-under 68 in the third round on Saturday to pull into a three-way tie with Ernie Els of South Africa and Sweden's Alex Noren atop the leaderboard of the BMW International Open.
The trio was even at 15-under 201 heading into Sunday's final round.
Els, who began the day with a one-stroke lead and shot a second consecutive 69, remains confident he can claim the title.
''Yes, I am,'' said the two-time winner of the British Open and U.S. Open. ''I'm swinging nicely, and I've had my back against the wall, so to speak, the last two rounds where I've had to come back and try to salvage something. I did it again today.''
Levy, whose best finish to date is 10th, did well to emerge with only a bogey on the 15th, when he had to hack the ball out from under a tree.
''I'm very happy. It was great for me to play with a fantastic player,'' Levy said of partnering with Els for the day. ''It's nice to play with him, very happy. It was unbelievable.''
Noren managed five birdies and an eagle to offset a bogey.
''I hit a lot of good shots and a few bad ones, but you always do,'' he said.
England's Matthew Baldwin and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn were one stroke back. Bjorn put himself in contention by holing nine birdies in a round of 65 to move up 14 places.
''I needed to shoot a round to give myself a chance tomorrow, and I've done that,'' said Bjorn, the 2000 and ‘02 winner. ''The first two days it's been decent but not great. I stepped it up today, and that gives you a little bit of confidence tomorrow.''
American Peter Uihlein was another shot back in sixth after a 67.
''I'm just happy to keep putting myself in a good position going into the final round. That's what it's all about,'' Uihlein said.
Local favorites Marcel Siem and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer both shot 69 and were at 204, along with defending champion Danny Willet (70), Joost Luiten (67) of the Netherlands and Brandon Stone (67) of South Africa.
''It's a special week. I played really good golf the whole week so far, and yesterday I managed to grind out a good round but today I really played great golf again,'' said Stone, who is playing his debut season as a professional.
Sergio Garcia holed seven birdies and avoided any bogeys for a 65. The Spaniard is one of three players four strokes back at 205.
Play was delayed by one hour at the start and again later for 1 hour and 20 minutes because of heavy rain.
Els had two bogeys in the opening seven holes but finished strongly after making an adjustment at the 11th. He came agonizingly close to an eagle on the 18th, which would have given him the outright lead, but was content with a birdie for a share of the lead.
''Hopefully tomorrow things are a little bit better,'' Els said. ''It's going to be tough going in. Everybody's going to be quite tense.''