Westwood Catches Louis


Thanks to an 11-birdie 61, Lee Westwood rose to the top of the leaderboard to tie 36-hole leader Louis Oosthuizen in the WGC-HSBC Champions. The $7 million event began Thursday on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club in Guangdong, China.

Oosthuizen started the third round with a five-stroke lead over Australia's Adam Scott. But the 30-year-old South African shot a 2-under 70 that allowed Westwood to catch him. The two stand at 18-under 198, three strokes ahead of Phil Mickelson, who shot his second 66 of the tournament.

Westwood said the key to his round was better putting, a problem he's been addressing in practice sessions. "I've struggled on the greens. That's been widely and comprehensively reported," he said. "But today I felt really confident on the greens and actually looked at 20-footers thinking, 'Yeah, I'm going to make this one.' "

He also fulfilled his goal at the start of the round with a good start. "I just wanted to come out fast and try to get some momentum," Westwood said. "That's just been missing from my game the last couple of weeks. I came out quick as you like with three birdies and that got me going and the hole started to look bigger."

After rounds of 65 and 63, Oosthuizen could only muster four birdies and two bogeys in the third round. "Early I didn't play really well and then started to find a little bit of form on the back nine, but just didn't make any putts," said the 2010 British Open champion. "The putter went cold on me today."

Tied for fourth at 202 are Ian Poulter (65), Bill Haas (66) and Ernie Els (69). Brandt Snedeker posted the low round Friday, a 60, to rise into solo eighth at 203.

Snedeker went out with six birdies to make the turn in 6-under 30, then added four more birdies and an eagle on the par-5 15th for another 30 to establish a new course record. He had visions of shooting a magical 59, needing a birdie on the par-4 last, but could only get a par after two-putting.

"You don't get a chance to shoot 59 too often, maybe a couple of times in your career," the Tennessean said. "I'd love to have that putt again."

With a third-round 71, Scott fell into a tie for ninth at 2054 with Gaganjeet Bhullar (63), Carl Pettersson (66), Martin Kaymer (67), Scott Piercy (68) and Luke Donald (69).

For all the scores, visit http://www.worldgolfchampionships.com/leaderboards/current/r489/index.html.


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