Westwood stays cool under pressure

 

Golf:Lee Westwood maintained ice-cool composure while fending off an electrifying back-nine charge by Phil Mickelson to take a one-shot lead after yesterday’s third round of the US Masters. Westwood fired a four-under-par 68 in glorious spring sunshine at Augusta National to post a 12-under total.

Mickelson, a two-time Masters champion, carded a 67 to lie second with world number one Tiger Woods and his playing partner KJ Choi of South Korea a further stroke back at eight under after carding matching 70s.

Calm conditions, receptive greens and several accessible pins resulted in a glut of aggressive shot-making as the majestic Georgian pines at Augusta resonated with loud roars for birdies and eagles.

"It was probably one of those great days in golf at a major championship," Westwood told reporters after a well-crafted round featuring five birdies and a lone bogey at the 12th.

"You hear the cheers, but I didn't really pay any attention to it. I was well aware that somebody was making a charge, and I figured it was Phil.

"I think I'm ready," said the Englishman who is seeking a first major title after tying for third in his last two bids. "I played really well out there and I felt very calm. All I can do is stick to my game plan . . . and try and execute that properly."

In Sunday's final round, Westwood will have to execute in the company of Mickelson, who thrilled the crowds on Saturday by covering 13, 14 and 15 with a stunning eagle-eagle-birdie run.

Fourth round tee times(US unless stated, all times Irish)

1540Chad Campbell, Nathan Green (Aus)

1550Jason Dufner, Robert Allenby (Aus)

1600Robert Karlsson (Swe), Retief Goosen (Rsa)

1610Sergio Garcia (Spa), Zach Johnson

1620Steve Stricker, Ben Crane

1630Dustin Johnson, (x) Matteo Manassero (Ita)

1640Ernie Els (Rsa), Mike Weir (Can)

1650Scott Verplank, Francesco Molinari (Ita)

1700Yuta Ikeda (Jpn), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa)

1710Lucas Glover, Ryan Moore

1720Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), Matt Kuchar

1730Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Camilo Villegas (Col)

1750Steve Flesch, Adam Scott (Aus)

1800Kenny Perry, Angel Cabrera (Arg)

1810Nick Watney, Sean O’Hair

1820Heath Slocum, David Toms

1830Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Geoff Ogilvy (Aus)

1840Bill Haas, Tom Watson

1850Jerry Kelly, Steve Marino

1900YE Yang (Kor), Anthony Kim

1910Ricky Barnes, Ian Poulter (Gbr)

1920Fred Couples, Hunter Mahan

1930Tiger Woods, KJ Choi (Kor)

1940Lee Westwood (Gbr), Phil Mickelson