Alstom Open de France, 3rd round, Howell & Hansen Lead July 07 2012

Howell and Hansen hold slender advantage

David Howell (Getty Images

David Howell and Anders Hansen share the third round lead at the Alstom Open de France at Le Golf National, Paris, with a tournament total of -6 under par. There was a brief interruption, around 35 minutes, for a thunder-storm and Anders Hansen and George Coetzee who were then leading, at 8 under, dropped shots at the last couple of holes. That gave David Howell the opportunity to make up ground with his third round of -4 under par, 67, to tie Anders and pass George, who is now one shot back at -5 under par.

David is very satisfied with the way he is playing;

“I played beautifully. It’s been three good rounds so far. Today was probably the way you want to play the golf course. The way I played, I kept the ball on the whole in the fairway and took my chances when they came along. You’ve got to play steady golf around here. You can’t smash it all over the place and expect to score. You've got to be patient and play strategically, not make too many stupid errors and when the birdie chances come, the greens are perfect, so you can hope to hole some putts from 20 or 30 feet as well. The confidence is building by the day and today's round was important for me, and tomorrow's will be of course. In decent position after 36, you never want to go backwards, and to play such a nice round, I was very pleased for my confidence. "

Anders was disappointed to drop shots late on in his round;

“I’m very pleased. Obviously disappointed to drop shots on six and 16, and on 17 I hit a bad drive, but two bogeys on a tough, tough day like today, it’s very decent. I’ve heard it’s going to be very, very windy tomorrow. We’ll see what’s going to happen. This is where I want to be and this is what I've worked towards. I'm happy to see the changes are working well and I'm hitting a lot of good shots out there. The more comfortable I get with the things I'm doing, you think the chances are that I'm going to play better, so all in all I'm very pleased."

Frenchman  Raphaël Jacquelin went round in 70 to lie two behind Howell and Hansen. He was joined on four under by overnight leader Marcel Siem, who struggled to 73 after carding back to back 68s earlier in the week. Raphaël was happy with the home support he has been receiving;

" It was great to see the public coming, even if the weather was not very good. I hope they are going to be there a lot tomorrow and support me.  I will try to do my best, and we'll see. It's like a fifth major for us, and so it would mean a lot but I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. The course is putting a lot of pressure on myself already. So I will try to do my best again.”

Lee Westwood dropped off the planet, with a third round 76, but Ian Poulter is still in with a chance at -3 under par and three shots of the pace.