Westwood eyes Desert win
Lee Westwood promised an aggressive approach in the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic after taking a share of the lead.
European number one Lee Westwood promised to take an aggressive approach in the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic after claiming a share of the lead on Saturday.
The world number four dropped just one shot in a four-under-par 68 to join Spanish duo Alvaro Quiros and Miguel Angel Jimenez and Asian number one Thongchai Jaidee in a four-way tie at 11 under par.
A frustrated Westwood was one over after six holes of his third round but fought back and had a chance to snatch the outright lead at the last but missed a long eagle putt.
“Any time I’m in contention that gets me buzzing and excited,” said Westwood.
“I’ll play aggressively, I won’t do anything stupid, but I’ll shoot at the flags that need to be shot at.
“If I keep playing the way I am and get off to a quick start I’m going to have a chance coming down the last nine holes.”
Defending champion Rory McIlroy heads the chasing pack after a 69, with Marcus Fraser (70) and Challenge Tour number one Edoardo Molinari (70) on eight under and Abu Dhabi champion Martin Kaymer lurking a further shot adrift after a bogey-free 68.
Last week in Qatar Westwood headed into the final round just one shot adrift but was left frustrated with a new driver and was forced to settle for third.
But a week later the 36-year-old is much more confident of success after blazing a flawless seven-under-par 65 on Friday, his best score in 50 rounds at Emirates Golf Club.
“It will be a bit of a birdie-fest if it stays like this,” he added.
“Hopefully there will be a bit of wind, but all I’m going to do is try and do what I did at the Dubai World Championship and go out and shoot the lowest score of the final day.”
Overnight leader Jaidee missed a string of chances on the back nine after briefly establishing a four-shot lead and was forced to settle for a 69.
“I am not disappointed I am not in the lead outright. I will just play my own game,” said the 40-year-old former paratrooper. “I have a good chance, but it is very close.”
Quiros finished with back-to-back birdies to card the joint lowest score of the day with a flawless 67.
“It is going to be very tough to win with the players at the top of the leaderboard, it’s not only in my hands. I want to shoot 10 under, but someone could shoot 11 under,” said the big-hitting 27-year-old.
“I’m hitting a lot of great shots but I’m hitting a lot of bad shots, but I’m very lucky because I was able to recover. I have to be more consistent.”
Jimenez, who began the day a shot adrift of Jaidee alongside Westwood, picked up four shots over his final eight holes to sign for a four-under-par 68 following a sublime display of iron play.
“I kept my concentration and focused on what I was hitting well and waited for the birdies to come,” the 46-year-old said. “And that puts me in contention with all of these young guys.”
Italian amateur Matteo Manassero continued to flourish with a 71 pushing the 16-year-old British amateur champion to four under, with 60-year-old eight-time major winner Tom Watson two shots further back after ending his third round 71 with a double bogey.
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