Westwood takes control in Indonesia
England’s Lee Westwood’s superb ability of staying patient was rewarded when he stormed ahead to snatch the third round lead with a seven-under-par 65 at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters on Saturday.
The former world number one cut a frustrated figure in his front-nine but an astonishing back-nine 29 saw Westwood compile a three-day total of eight-under-par 208 to establish a commanding five-shot lead going into the final round at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
Thailand’s Namchok Tantipokhakul carded a 71 to tie for second with Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn and Korea’s Y.E. Yang on matching 213 total at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event.
It was a tale of two different nines for Westwood, the double CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters champion, who had started the day in seventh place.
The Englishman turned in 36 after mixing one birdie and one bogey.
However a stunning eagle-three on 12 lifted the world number 33 to the top of the leaderboard.
“I was struggling for a bit of momentum around the front-nine as I found it hard to read the greens. That eagle from about 25 ft really got me going and I went on to birdie the next five holes,” said Westwood.
Five successive birdies from 13 then saw him sprint away from the chasing pack, giving him a commanding advantage before the final round beckons.
“Nobody was really doing anything around the front-nine. I was sort of plodding along and even-par till 11 and only two behind then. But I managed to have a good run after that and stamp a bit of authority when nobody was doing it,” he said.
With a hat-trick of titles in sight, Westwood is determined to make his visit to Jakarta another enjoyable one.
“I’ve been here twice and I won both times so I like to keep that going. I’ve never been beaten before so I’m going in with a big chance tomorrow,” he added.
Despite Westwood’s healthy lead, Bjorn believes he still has a chance to dent the Englishman’s title aspirations.
“I haven’t been playing particularly well. But I managed to scramble my way around. It’s very much in his hands but I’ll still give a go and see how it goes.
“I got to putt well and shoot really low tomorrow as I can’t let anything slip early,” said the Dane.
Namchok is also determined to stop Westwood in his tracks by going on a birdie sprint early.
“I’ve got to start applying the pressure early and see how it goes. There’s still a chance and I’m going to do my best and try to make a charge early tomorrow,” said the Thai.
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