Nedbank Golf Challenge

Westwood blitzes Sun City field

2011-12-03 18:08
Lee Westwood (File)

Sun City - Lee Westwood went on a 10-birdie blitz around Gary Player Country Club on Saturday for a record 62 and a seven-shot lead after three rounds of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

The 38-year-old Englishman and world number three did not drop a shot and came close to several eagles in a flawless display of length and accuracy from tee to green and aggressive putting.

Even a 90-minute storm delay at this north-west entertainment resort did not affect Westwood, who had four birdies on the front nine and six on the back to leave Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland and Swede Robert Karlsson in his wake.

Defending champion Westwood is on 200 - 16-under par - after bettering by one stroke the course record South African Ernie Els, Spaniard Sergio Garcia, Swede Henrik Stenson and American Nick Watney shared.

Overnight leader McDowell (70) and Karlsson (69) are on 207, American Jason Dufner (70) and German Martin Kaymer (70) on 208 and South African Charl Schwartzel (68) and South Korean Kim Kyung-Tae (70) are two shots further back.

World number one Luke Donald of England fired a two-under 70 for a total of 211 and is too far back off the pace to harbour realistic hopes of snatching the $1.25 million first prize.

Westwood, whose roll call of triumphs is still lacking a major, linked his success to work on the practice range and in the gymnasium.

"I came to South Africa after three hard weeks of work in the gym. I feel in complete control of my body and swing," he told reporters after his birdie barrage over the 7  162-metre layout.

"Obviously, I played pretty well. I cannot remember missing a fairway and I played the par fives really well -- having four really good eagle chances on them.

"It is the way I have been playing from tee to green and have just been waiting for one or two 20-footers to go in and I felt like I had a 62 in me," added Westwood.

The leader had three consecutive birdies from the second, another three in a row from the ninth and then four on the trot between 14 and 17 before seeing his birdie chip at the final hole pull up just short.

Pre-tournament bookmakers' favourite and reigning Masters champion Schwartzel had the next best round of the day with a four-under 68 that included six birdies but also two bogeys.

Scores after storm-interrupted third round of Nedbank Golf Challenge invitation tournament at par-72, 7 162-metre Gary Player Country Club on Saturday:

200 - Lee Westwood (ENG) 68-70-62

207 - Graeme McDowell (NIR) 70-67-70, Robert Karlsson (SWE) 69-69-69

208 - Jason Dufner (USA) 70-68-70, Martin Kaymer (GER) 70-68-70

210 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68-74-68, Kim Kyung-Tae (KOR) 70-70-70

212 - Luke Donald (ENG) 70-72-70

215 - Simon Dyson (ENG) 70-70-75

218 - Anders Hansen (DEN) 72-69-77

219 - Darren Clarke (NIR) 74-69-76

222 - Francesco Molinari (ITA) 72-77-73

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