Westwood stays solid to keep chasing pack at bay
EUROPEAN TOUR SCANDINAVIAN MASTERS:LEE WESTWOOD will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Nordea Masters after keeping the chasing pack at bay in Stockholm.
A round of 68 was good enough for Westwood to maintain the advantage he had enjoyed at the halfway stage at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, although England’s Ross Fisher rather than Swede Peter Hanson is now his nearest challenger.
Westwood finished the day on 16 under par, with Fisher 13 under after a superb 65 and Ryder Cup team-mate Hanson a further shot back after a battling 69. “I played well, hit a lot of good shots and it was some solid stuff,” Westwood said. “I didn’t really get into too much trouble. I got a bit of a flier on the second and that was the only bogey I made all day.”
Westwood had started in the perfect fashion with a birdie on the par-five first, but that flier on the second saw him run up a bogey five. The world number three bounced back quickly with a stunning approach to the par-three fourth which finished just inches from the flag to set up the easiest of birdies. A number of other chances went a-begging on the front nine before Westwood rolled in a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th to ensure he would keep his nose in front following Thursday’s superb 64.
“I did misread a couple of putts on the front nine, the one on five and the one on eight, but other than that I putted well,” he added. “I’ve read the greens well this week and rolled in a couple of nice ones on the back nine. It (the weather) changed coming up 14, the breeze picked up a little bit and made 14, 15, 16 play a bit tricky.”
Westwood and Hanson played together for the third day running, with the Swede doing well to remain in contention after running up a double-bogey six on the eighth to be out in 37. Four birdies on the back nine saw Hanson home in 32 to finish 12 under, but Fisher will partner Westwood today after his flawless 65.
Fisher put last week’s one-shot penalty for slow play during the final round of the Wales Open behind him, carding three birdies on the front nine and four on the back to storm up the leaderboard.
England’s Richard Bland is five shots off the lead in fourth after a 68, with Swedish duo Michael Jonzon and Alexander Noren sharing fifth another shot back.
Defending champion Noren looked out of contention after an opening 74, but has responded with consecutive rounds of 66.
Gareth Maybin had a round of 72 yesterday for a 213 total while Michael Hoey is four shots back after a round of 77.