Westy stretches his lead to five

Lee Westwood has tightened the screws at the Indonesian Masters, stretching a one-shot lead to five with a sparkling 66.

Lee Westwood tightened the screws at the Indonesian Masters on Saturday to stretch his one-shot, second-round lead to five with magnificent third round that netted him a 6-under-par 66 .

The World No 2 put himself firmly on track towards celebrating his 38th birthday with a victory here on Sunday by first taking a one stroke lead when he completed his last two holes of the suspended second round early on Saturday morning and then going out and immediately stretching that to all of five shots in the third round that followed.

Indeed, that might well have been six shots had he not bogeyed his last hole at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club where his 66 took him to a 16-under 200 total heading into the final round and set him up to regain the World No 1 crown he held for 17 weeks before losing it to German young gun Martin Kaymer.

In the absence of Kaymer, who has taken the week off, Westwood, if he is to reclaim his number one spot. needs to win on Sunday and fellow Englishman Luke Donald, the World No 3 and the current second round leader at The Heritage in the US, to miss out.

In the meantime, Westwood’s closest pursuers are Asian Tour rookie Park Hyun-bin of Korea, who has posted only one bogey in the tournament so far and fired a 70 to take a share of second place with Thitiphun Chuayprakong (69) of Thailand on 205.

Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng also posted a 69, courtesy of an eagle three on the 12th hole, to lie in fourth place while first round leader Siddikur of Bangladesh, Filipino Antonio Lascuna and the Thai duo of Prom Meesawat and Thongchai Jaidee are a stroke further back.

Westwood, said reverting to a conventional putter from the belly putter he had started using worked wonders for him as he shot two hat-tricks of birdies from holes one and nine.

“It feels much better using the conventional putter because every decent putt seems to go in and that made me more comfortable. I’ve been in this position before and I’ll try not to get ahead of myself,” said the Englishman, who has won over 30 worldwide titles in his stellar career.

Westwood said he was “here to win a tournament” and would let World Rankings “take care of themselves”.

Little known Thitiphun, an 18-year-old Thai who won in China last week, admitted to feeling nervous, but said he had regained confidence when he sank a long, 18 feet birdie putt on the second hole.

“I kept to my game plan of not being too greedy. You can’t get birdies all the time. My putting has been excellent this week and that has been pulling my game up,” said the ever smiling Thai, who earned his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School in Thailand earlier this year.

He will play the final round alongside Westwood and said he couldn’t wait

“You won’t get many opportunities of playing with one of the world’s best golfer. I’m really looking forward to it. It won’t be easy to win though because I think I’ll be very nervous,” Thitiphun added.

Park saved numerous pars in a round of two birdies and was delighted with his putting and accurate iron play.

“My putting has been very solid. I managed to save many pars. I wished I could have made more birdies but overall, I’m happy with what I shot,” said the 24-year-old.

Leading third round scores:
200 – Lee Westwood (Eng) 68-66-66.
205 – Thitiphun Chuayprakong (Tha) 68-68-69, Hyun-Bin Park (Kor) 67-68-70.
206 – Prayad Marksaeng (Tha) 67-70-69.
207 – Siddikur (Ban) 66-72-69, Prom Meesawat (Tha) 70-68-69, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 67-70-70, Antonio Lascuna (Phi) 67-70-70.
208 – Wen-Tang Lin (Tpe) 71-67-70, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 69-68-71.
209 – Mardan Mamat (Sin) 72-70-67, Marcus Both (Aus) 70-70-69.
210 – Pariya Junhasavasdikul (Tha) 72-65-73, Shaaban Hussin (Mas) 68-67-75.