Lee Westwood rolls back the years to lead by one in Abu Dhabi

46-year-old shoots a fine round of 65 to lead Laporta and Wiesberger into the final day

Lee Westwood leads by one heading into the final round in Abu Dhabi. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty

Lee Westwood leads by one heading into the final round in Abu Dhabi. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty

 

Lee Westwood rolled back the years with a brilliant round of 65 to take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The 46-year-old Englishman showed all of the class that saw him become world number one at the start of the last decade as he moved to 14 under to lead the way from Italian Francesco Laporta and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger.

Westwood ended a three-and-half-year wait for a victory when he won the 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge and cut an emotional figure in South Africa, revealing he had been unsure if he would ever lift another trophy.

Just 14 months later later he is in pole position to claim another of the European Tour’s prestigious Rolex Series events and take his total of victories on his home circuit to 25.

“It’s always a bonus to be in contention and that’s basically why we come out here,” Westwood told europeantour.com.

“I’m not going to lie, I didn’t play a lot of golf coming into it, didn’t know what to expect. To be in the lead with one round to go, it’s a real positive.

“I’m just going to go out there and play as well as I can and if it’s good enough, then great. I know I’m talented enough to win the tournament, it’s just a case of applying myself.”

A 10-footer on the third and excellent approach to the fifth put him in a share of the lead before a remarkable second to three feet on the par-five eighth set up an eagle that vaulted him two ahead.

Further birdies followed on the ninth and 12th and while he dropped a shot on the 14th, Westwood hit a stunning approach into the 16th and made the most of the par-five last.

Wiesberger finished with three successive birdies in a blemish-free 65, while overnight leader Laporta had to settle for a 69.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick also carded a 69 to sit at 12 under, a shot clear of major champion Sergio Garcia and American Kurt Kitayama.

Collated third round scores & totals in the European Tour Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented:

202 Lee Westwood 69 68 65

203 Francesco Laporta (Ita) 71 63 69, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 69 69 65

204 Matthew Fitzpatrick 68 67 69

205 Kurt Kitayama (USA) 67 70 68, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 67 69 69

206 Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 67 68 71, Thomas Detry (Bel) 69 70 67

207 Ross Fisher 70 71 66, Sebastian Heisele (Ger) 70 73 64, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 69 68 70, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 67 71 69, Jack Senior 71 70 66

208 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 68 73 67, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 75 65 68, Jack Singh Brar 70 70 68, Romain Langasque (Fra) 70 71 67, Scott Hend (Aus) 69 70 69, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 70 73 65, Andy Sullivan 69 71 68, Tommy Fleetwood 71 70 67, Victor Perez (Fra) 70 70 68, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 68 70 70

209 Zach Murray (Aus) 67 72 70, Richie Ramsay 71 69 69, Shaun Norris (Rsa) 64 77 68, Paul Waring 71 71 67, Branden Grace (Rsa) 68 72 69, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 71 72 66, Patrick Cantlay (USA) 71 66 72, Ashley Chesters 72 69 68, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 74 66 69, Yuxin Lin (a) (Chn) 69 70 70, Sam Horsfield 73 69 67, Jordan Smith 74 68 67, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 68 73 68

210 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 70 70 70, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 71 72 67, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 68 73 69, Scott Jamieson 71 72 67, Haotong Li (Chn) 67 69 74, Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 71 70 69, David Lipsky (USA) 73 69 68, Gavin Green (Mal) 73 70 67, Sean Crocker (USA) 72 70 68, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 73 68 69, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn) 69 71 70

211 Brooks Koepka (USA) 66 75 70, Joost Luiten (Ned) 70 68 73

212 Adri Arnaus (Spa) 70 67 75, Matt Wallace 73 70 69, Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 75 64 73, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 69 71 72, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 69 72 71, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 71 71 70, Justin Walters (Rsa) 73 70 69, Renato Paratore (Ita) 64 72 76

213 David Drysdale 70 71 72, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 71 70 72, Oliver Fisher 71 70 72

214 David Law 70 68 76, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 66 74 74, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 69 69 76, Justin Harding (Rsa) 69 73 72, Jeff Winther (Den) 73 70 71

215 Andrew Johnston 69 74 72, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 71 71 73, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 71 72 72, Grant Forrest 74 68 73

217 David Howell 70 72 75, Nacho Elvira (Spa) 72 67 78

218 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 70 73 75

222 Alexander Bjork (Swe) 73 70 79

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.