Ritthammer, MacIntyre neck and neck at European Open

Hamburg - Home favourite Bernd Ritthammer carded five birdies on Saturday to catch overnight leader Robert MacIntyre at the top of the leaderboard and set up a nailbiting final day at the European Open in Hamburg.

Rookie MacIntyre, 23, had taken a four-shot lead to grab the lead from Englishman Paul Casey on Friday but could not hold his advantage in a finely poised battle at the Green Eagle Golf Course.

As the young Scot notched up three bogeys, Germany's Ritthammer, ranked just 924th in the world and fighting for his European Tour card for next season, reeled him in with a two-under-par 70 on Saturday.

"It was definitely quite an experience for me. I am not used to being ahead on the European Tour," said Ritthammer.

"It would mean the world to me to win tomorrow, and it would change my situation," he added.

Scottish youngster MacIntyre said he was pleased with the fight he had shown on a difficult day.

"Obviously I was hoping for another round under par but things didn't go my way today. I am going to fight until the end," said MacIntyre.

The two men are now level at the top of the standings ahead of the final day on Sunday.

Casey, who has been struggling with illness in the last few days, remains a shot behind the leaders after recovering a little with a three-under 69 and five birdies on Saturday.

"I still feel rubbish from the neck-up," admitted the Englishman with regard to his health.

He in turn is just one shot ahead of both Austria's Matthias Schwab and Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, who was one of the standout performers of the third round with seven birdies and a four-under 68.

Leading third round scores from the European Tour's European Open in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday (par 72/GBR & IRL unless stated):

207 - Bernd Ritthammer (GER) 71-66-70, Robert MacIntyre 68-65-74,

208 - Paul Casey 66-73-69,

209 - Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 70-71-68, Matthias Schwab (AUT) 67-72-70,

210 - Ben Evans 69-73-68

211 - Jeff Winther (DEN) 72-69-70, Guido Migliozzi (ITA) 71-68-72,

212 - Niklas Lemke (SWE) 71-73-68, Ashley Chesters 71-71-70, Louis de Jager (RSA) 72-69-71, Kristian Krogh Johannessen (NOR) 70-71-71, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 71-69-72