Date: December 21, 2008

Westwood leads in SA

Lee Westwood will take a two shot lead into the final round of the South African Open on Sunday after he carded a four-under-par 68 to follow his opening 66 and 68 on the first two days. That gave the Englishman a combined total of 202 at the Pearl Valley Golf Estates, putting him in a strong position to claim a maiden win in 2008. Northern Ireland&aposs Gareth Maybin and overnight leader Michael Lorenzo-Vera are on 12-under after rounds of 69 and 72 respectively, one shot clear of three players on 11-under. They include Maybin&aposs fellow countryman Rory McIlroy, who shot a five-under-par 67 to storm into contention, as well as two-time champion of the world&aposs second oldest British Open championship, Retief Goosen and George Coetzee, all on 205. Bernd Wiesberger from Austria was a further stroke back on 206 after recording the round of the day, a seven-under-par 65 that included six birdies, one eagle and a bogey, alongside Ireland&aposs Damien McGrane, with Ross McGowan and Len Mattiace on 207. But it was the world number 10, Westwood, that continued his good form at the 147,000 pound event, and he showed remarkable patience for his four-birdie round that included 10 consecutive pars between the fourth and 13th holes. “It&aposs a good position to be in,” he said. “You want to be leading, so I&aposm pleased with the position. I&aposm just pleased with the way I played the last three days, I&aposve been very solid and made just one bogey, I think.” “It was good to see a bit more breeze today, it helped me a bit more tee-to-green and that&aposs probably the strongest part of my game at the moment, so I&aposm pretty pleased.” Westwood, who had 13 top 10 finishes during the past season without a win, said that his plan for the final round was to just go out and play. “I have to think and not get too ahead of myself. All week long, all I&aposve tried to do is minimise the mistakes and just get around.” “I&aposm just enjoying it and I look forward to going out and playing every day the way I&aposm hitting the ball. It&aposs a golf course I enjoy playing.” Double major winner Goosen said: “The course started playing a little trickier today, especially with the breeze that started to pick up on the back nine. I struggled badly on the front nine and managed to make a nice long putt on 10 and that settled me down a little bit.” “I just told myself that if I can at least try to shoot two-under, then hopefully I won&apost be more than fore or five behind. So yeah, I&aposm back in it.” “I think if I&aposm three off the lead, I&aposll have a good chance tomorrow.” Four-time champion Ernie Els, who started the day in second place, shot a woeful five-over-par 77, with two triple bogeys and four bogeys to drop right out of contention. World No.8 Henrik Stenson recovered from his poor start earlier in the day to post a 69, his best score of the week, for a tournament total 210, while Justin Rose finished with a one-under 71, two-under overall. Third Round of the South African Open Championship -14: Lee Westwood 66 68 68 -12: Michael Lorenzo-Vera 67 65 72, Gareth Maybin 66 69 69 -11: George Coetzee 69 68 68, Retief Goosen 70 66 69, Rory McIlroy 70 68 67 -10: Damien McGrane 70 64 72, Bernd Wiesberger 72 69 65 -9: Len Mattiace 70 66 71, Ross McGowan 66 70 71 -8: Darren Clarke 74 67 67, Simon Dyson 67 73 68, Richard Sterne 72 69 67, Alessandro Tadini 68 74 66, Jaco Van Zyl 66 71 71, Chris Wood 68 69 71 -7: Branden Grace 69 67 73, Michael Hoey 70 66 73, John Mellor 70 68 71, Louis Oosthuizen 69 73 67, Fabrizio Zanotti 64 72 73