Westwood surges into Abu Dhabi lead

By Tom Webber 18 January 2020 3
Westwood surges into Abu Dhabi lead

Lee Westwood surged up the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship leaderboard and into a one-shot lead after round three on Saturday.

The former world number one signed for a seven-under 65 to move to 14 under for the tournament, clear of Bernd Wiesberger and overnight leader Francesco Laporta in a tie for second.

Westwood posted gains on the third and fifth holes before hitting the front after a sublime approach saw him eagle the par-five eighth.

A dropped shot on the 14th hole was followed by a birdie-par-birdie finish as Westwood, looking for a first win since the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November 2018, held onto top spot heading into round four.

"It's always a bonus to be in contention and that's basically why we come out here," said Westwood.

"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."

Wiesberger finished with three birdies in succession to stay in touch, while a bogey at the second cost Laporta a share of the lead following a three-under 69.

Matt Fitzpatrick is two shots back in fourth, while Kurt Kitayama and Sergio Garcia sit level on 11 under.

Louis Oosthuizen, the runner-up at the South African Open last weekend, is at nine under and world number one Brooks Koepka had four bogeys in a round of 70 that leaves him five under.

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Tom Webber