MUNICH – George Coetzee of South Africa birdied four of his last six holes Friday for a second straight 5-under 67 to sit tied for the lead with Henrik Stenson at the midway point of the BMW International Open.
Stenson had looked certain to protect his overnight lead after making an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole for the second day in a row, but the Swede finished with two bogeys for a 70. Stenson and Coetzee were at 10-under 134 to sit one stroke ahead of Pablo Larrazabal of Spain, who carded a 67. Five players were in a tie for fourth, another shot back.
Stenson is looking for his first trophy since The Players Championship in Sawgrass in 2009, and has dropped from fourth in the rankings to 124th.
“It would mean a lot to me to win in terms of confidence and so on,” the 35-year-old Swede said. “Let’s try and have a good weekend here first, and then we have the British Open coming up in a couple of weeks. If I can keep on building on this progress, hopefully I can give myself some chances to win majors.”
Stenson started on the 10th tee and bogeyed his first hole, but reached 12 under after his eagle on the sixth and birdie on the seventh.
But his disappointing finish allowed Coetzee to catch up, putting the South African in contention for his first European Tour title.
“I have led a couple of times, but I’d like to finish one first sooner or later,” Coetzee said. “I think it’s just a matter of trying to be in contention come the final afternoon. I don’t really mind if I’m leading or not leading, just as long as I am within touching distance.”
Third-ranked Martin Kaymer stayed in the hunt for a victory on home soil with a 68, putting him four shots back in a tie for 15th. The German had four straight birdies from eighth hole, and narrowly missed an eagle putt on the 18th.
“I am only four shots behind, which is not a lot on a course like this which offers plenty of birdies,” Kaymer said. “I love playing with so many spectators and maybe on Sunday, we can win this together.”