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BMW International Open: Ernie Els one ahead of Alexander Levy and Matthew Baldwin

Last Updated: 22/06/13 7:34pm

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Ernie Els: South African is gearing up for his Open Championship defence at Muirfield in July

Ernie Els: South African is gearing up for his Open Championship defence at Muirfield in July

Sky Bet

Ernie Els birdied the 18th to maintain his one-shot advantage at the halfway stage of the BMW International Open in Munich.

Els followed his opening 63 with a 69 on Friday to leave him on 12-under-par for the tournament, just ahead of Frenchman Alexander Levy and England's Matthew Baldwin.

Second round leaderboard

(GB and Ire unless stated)
-12 E Els (SA)
-11 M Baldwin
-11 A Levy (Fra)
-10 B Wiesberger (Aut)
-10 D Willett

Click here for collated scores

The South African played the front nine in level par, a double bogey at the seventh cancelling out his birdies at the sixth and ninth.

He rallied with four birdies on his back nine, including at the last, to ensure he remained clear of the chasing pack.

"I think it's going to play a little tougher over the weekend," said Els. "It's getting a little bit firmer but I would like to swing a little better tomorrow, but I'm in a really nice position.

"I'm quite fortunate to be where I am. I didn't play as good today as I did yesterday obviously. I fought hard for a score and satisfied with that.

"There is so much golf to be played. If you fall out of the lead, if you're not leading after three rounds, it doesn't really mean much at all late Sunday. So you just want to stay in the race and keep trying to go forward."

Levy mixed seven birdies with three bogeys in his 68, while Baldwin - starting from the 10th - came home in 32 for a 69.

Case for defence

Defending champion Danny Willett moved up the leaderboard into a share of fourth place at 10 under thanks to a 65, the equal best round of the day.

Willett is alongside Austria's Bernd Wiesberger (68) with German duo Martin Kaymer (71) and Marcel Siem (68) part of a five-man group a stroke further back.

Kaymer, who won the tournament in 2008, and Siem are joined on nine under by Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez (67), Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (69) and Swede Alex Noren (71).

American Ryder Cup player Dustin Johnson is well placed on seven under after 71, while Spain's Sergio Garcia managed a 69 to move to four under.

Former European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, who turns 50 on Sunday, is among those free to make alternative weekend plans after successive 71s left him on two under, one outside the cut.

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