West Germany's Bernhard Langer played a shot from 2- feet high in a tree todlay as Irishman Eamonn Darcy moved back into the lead in the third round of the $180,000 Benson and Hedges International Open.

Langer pulled his nine-iron approach shot into an ash tree by the side of the green at the 355-yard 17th and the ball lodged in the fork of some branches.

Langer, Europe's top money-winner this season, and winner of the German Open earlier this month, explained: "Everybody laughed, but I didn't find it funny at all. I know I could have taken a penalty drop but I preferred to play the shot because that gave me a chance of getting up and down to save my par.

"But it was scary climbing that tree. I stood on my golf bag and two or three spectators helped to shove me up. But I had to do the last bit on my own and my muscles tightened up.

"I was really worried because when it came to playing the shot, I could have lost my balance, but in the end I made it although I still dropped a shot. When I got down I was shaking all over and I must admit it's an ordeal I never want to have to go through again."

Langer, who knocked the tree shot onto the green and then two-putted for bogey, finished the day with a 67 for a 54-hold total of 204, good for third place.

"(But) I would do exactly the same again," Langer said. "I could have dropped the ball under penalty, but it might easily have rolled close to the tree or behind it."

Darcy, who won twice in New Zealand and once in Zambia during the winter months, eased into the lead for the $30,000 first prize with seven birdies for a 66 that gave him a 14-under 202 total.

Tom Wiskopf, seeking his first victory since 1978, finished the round only one shot behind after making an astonishing shot of his own in a 68. Weiskopf holed out with a one-iron from 218 yards for an eagle 2 at the 471-yard 13th. He also had four birdies, but dropped shots at the eight and 11th.