Westwood smiling at Sun City
Lee Westwood is on course to win the Nedbank Challenge – taking a five-shot lead into the final round.
Lee Westwood is on course to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge, taking a five-shot lead into the final round despite an indifferent third day at Sun City.
The world number one carded a one-under-par round of 71 to go with his flawless second-round 64 and 68 on day one – ending on 13 under overall.
However, most of his closest rivals failed to match his effort as low scoring was hard to come by on a much more difficult day at the Gary Player Country Club.
Fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, three behind overnight in second place, went around in 73, including a double bogey on his penultimate hole that saw him slip back to eight under, alongside Tim Clark – one of just two players to shoot 68s.
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and South African Ernie Els matched Westwood’s 71, which helped them improve to seven and six under respectively.
Els is joined by Anders Hansen, the other player to manage a round-of-the-day 68, and Padraig Harrington after the Irishman carded a level-par 72.
Speaking afterwards, Westwood conceded that it was the most difficult of the three days so far.
His round, which was looking like a good one after 12 holes when he had managed three birdies, then suffered a little as two fives – on the par-four 13 and par-four 17 – saw him throw away a potentially even bigger lead.
He said: “I thought it was tricky out there today, there was a bit more wind than there has been on the other days.
“The tees were back so the holes played longer and it was pretty hot out there.
“Down that back nine I felt a little bit drained and my legs got a little bit weary, it was probably just the heat.
“But to come out of it with a five shot lead is a big bonus.”
Fisher suffered even more on the back nine, where he had two bogeys and a double bogey in the last five holes – the double coming when his approach to the 17th green was short and slipped into the water forcing a drop.
“It was all going pretty smoothly for around 12 or 13 holes…I was right in there. Unfortunately I then took six on the par five (14) and then dropped one on the next.
“So I was kind of playing catch-up a bit and then on 17 Westwood pulled it into the rough and I knew I had a chance there. I was in the middle of the fairway, I thought I had a lovely shot, but then misjudged it.
“It was just a disappointing day.”
Italian Edoardo Molinari suffered a huge turn in fortune after his 67 in round two was followed on Saturday by a 73 for a five-under total.
The rest of the 12-man field was made up of Retief Goosen (70) on four under, Robert Allenby (73) three under, Justin Rose (72) two under and Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (72) level par.
Four golfers to oppose short priced favourite Jon Rahm with in this week’s Open de Espana
The European Tour heads to Spain for three weeks and the action begins at Club de Campo Villa Madrid.
Danny Willett enjoys perfect birthday with Alfred Dunhill Links Championship win
The Englishman won for the first time in over two years.
Danny Willett in pole position to win Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The major champion could be having a double celebration on Sunday.
Tyrrell Hatton takes one-shot lead into Dunhill Links Championship third round
Fellow Ryder Cup stars Danny Willett and Tommy Fleetwood were not far behind.
Solid start for Sungjae Im at Sanderson Farms Championship: Can he land a second PGA Tour title?
The Korean posted a first round of 67 at the Country Club of Jackson as he made his 2021/22 seasonal bow.
Tyrrell Hatton shrugs off Ryder Cup disappointment to earn share of Dunhill lead
The 29-year-old is looking to win the event for a third time.
Shane Lowry fully focused on 2023 Ryder Cup despite getting ‘dog’s abuse’ in US
Lowry won one point from three matches on his Ryder Cup debut.
On this day in 2002: Europe beat the United States in the Ryder Cup
The hosts won 15½-12½ at The Belfry.
What Europe need to do to avoid further Ryder Cup embarrassment in Italy in 2023
Dustin Johnson became the first American since Larry Nelson in 1981 to compile a perfect 5-0 record in the 19-9 rout at Whistling Straits.
Lee Westwood would be ‘honoured’ by Ryder Cup captaincy but hopes to play again
The 48-year-old won his singles match against Harris English in a lost cause at Whistling Straits.