Westwood takes the lead

2004-12-04 18:53
Sun City - Englishman Lee Westwood will take a one-shot lead over a tightly bunched group of players into Sunday's final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge played at the par-72, 7162m, Gary Player Country Club layout.

Westwood fired a one-under-par 71 on Saturday for a total of five-under-par 211. Clipping the Englishman's heels is South Africa's Retief Goosen, who also ended the day on 71 and lies on 212 for the tournament.

Australian Stuart Appelby began the round with a shot lead but a two-over 74 saw him slump to 213, two shots off the pace.

American Chris DiMarco put himself back into contention with a great three-under 69 on Saturday and he now lies three behind Westwood, with Zimbabwean Nick Price on one-under and Ernie Els along with American Jim Furyk, lying a level par.

Furyk in fact produced the round of the day - or rather of the tournament - with a magnificent six-under 66. Only two other golfers have managed to break 70 in three rounds of golf - Appleby on Friday and DiMarco, also on Saturday - but they just squeaked under with rounds of 69.

The American birdied one, two, four, nine, 10, 12 15 and 18, but dropped on 11 and 14. The round left him at level par for the tournament and should he be able to produce a repeat performance on Sunday, Furyk may yet pull off what would be a spectacular victory.

'I got a bit lucky'

Westwood though, despite three bogeys on the opening four holes, managed to keep his nose in front. "I was not over-panicked by the start. I felt I began to play better after the fourth hole and I decided to just try and make a lot of pars and then try to do something after the turn.

"That's exactly how it worked out," said Westwood, who had to change caddies for the last four holes when his regular bag carrier, Mark Bell, began feeling the heat.

The Englishman's round all changed with birdies at the par-four eighth and par-five ninth. On the back nine he picked up a shot on 11 and then produced a magnificent second shot on the par-five 14th to set up an eagle.

"I got a bit lucky with the bounce," admitted Westwood. ""But that's what you've got to do here. Aim it where you want it to go and the rest is in the lap of the gods."

Goosen turned all square after bogeys on holes one and eight were offset with birdies at three and nine. A consistent back nine, with a great birdie on the par-four 13th saw the South African, who has not been feeling too well over the past few days, keep himself up with the pace.

"I felt a lot better today," said Goosen."I have been struggling with my swing this week but I have been scrambling well. I've managed to get it up and down when I've needed to."

Els will have to produce something special if he is to win this event for the fourth time. He must have felt like he was running on a treadmill out there on Saturday - doing lots of hard work and going nowhere. He managed a birdie and a bogey on both the front and back nine.

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