Young German Martin Kaymer, who showed in Abu Dhabi in January he could win from the front, was looking impressive in the same role in Munich today.
Five clear at the halfway point of the BMW International Open, the 23-year-old had his advantage cut to two by the time he teed off again in the glorious sunshine.
But after birdies on the sixth, eighth and ninth – he pitched to within inches of the hole there – Kaymer was 16 under par and six clear of the field.
For a while it was his fellow countryman Tino Schuster who was his closest challenger, but his bogey on the 472-yard 10th dropped him alongside English trio Paul Casey, Benn Barham and David Lynn, Dane Anders Hansen and South African Charl Schwartzel.
Lynn was the only one of those to have finished his day’s work, eight birdies helping him to a 66.
Kaymer lies 10th in the Ryder Cup points race and victory could take him to sixth tomorrow night and in sight of clinching a debut against the Americans in September.
Bernhard Langer, whose first cap in 1981 came when he was only just 24, partnered last season’s European Tour Rookie of the Year in the first two rounds and was fulsome in his praise.
“I told him ’you’re very aggressive, but very smart at the same time like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson’. I like that,” commented Langer.
“He’s got an old head on his shoulders – and going by the last two days he can go a long way. I don’t think there are any limits if he keeps that up.
“I don’t think it’s too early (to face the Americans). He is a winner and he has proved that.”
Colin Montgomerie threatened to get into contention when he reached eight under after 11 holes, but although he added two more birdies there was also a double bogey on the 13th and bogey on the short 17th.
That added up to a 68 and seven under total – too far back to have a chance unless Kaymer came back to the field.
Iain Pyman had the low round of the day, an eight under 64 which lifted the former British amateur champion from the cut line to nine under.