Golf: Karate key to leader's swing

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The Independent Online
WAYNE WESTNER goes into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic today holding a slender lead over four Ryder Cup hopefuls. If it was down to unarmed combat the 31-year-old South African, from Johannesburg, would win hands down. Nobody drives the ball further than big Wayne and he attributes his extraordinary length to the fact that he is a student of karate.

'It's all about body dynamics and effortless power,' he said. 'What is involved in karate is exactly the same as the mechanics of the golf swing.' At 7,100 yards the Emirates course is big enough for most of the players. Not Wayne. 'I wish they'd make it longer. Length is not a problem for me.'

Nor, thus far, is accuracy. In the third round yesterday he did not miss a single green, shooting 69 to stand at 12 under par on 204, a stroke in front of the Irishman Paul McGinley. At least Westner will not have to worry about Faldo today. Yesterday he lost ground with a 74.

The defending champion, Severiano Ballesteros, continued his rehabilitation with a 69 to stand at eight under. The key to Ballesteros's form here has been an excellent touch on the greens. For the last three weeks he has been practising putting on a mirror, an idea he borrowed from Forsbrand who bought the device from Faldo's coach, David Leadbetter.

He was partnered in the third round by Lane, the 32-year-old Englishman who leads the Ryder Cup points table with earnings of pounds 219,458. Lane, who won the German Masters last year, is poised to increase his lead today. 'I'm playing lovely,' he said. 'Playing with someone of Seve's stature gives you a lift. If he's playing half decent you'd have to include him in the Ryder Cup and he's playing a lot better than that.' The feeling was mutual. Ballesteros said of Lane: 'He'll be in the team.'

DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC (Emirates Club, Dubai) Leading third-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 204 W Westner (SA) 69 66 69. 205 P McGinley 65 70 70. 207 B Lane 70 69 68; A Forsbrand (Swe) 73 66 68; M Davis 72 65 70. 208 S Ballesteros (Spain) 71 68 69; S Struver (Ger) 69 70 69; R Goosen (SA) 70 66 72; R Rafferty 69 66 73. 209 C Rocca (It) 73 69 67. 210 E Els (SA) 71 72 67; C Montgomerie 73 70 67; R Claydon 66 73 70. 211 M A Jimenez (Sp) 75 68 68; P Baker 70 72 69; M Lanner (Swe) 73 69 69; H-P Thuel (Ger) 69 72 70; J Haeggman (Swe) 69 71 71. 212 C Mason 71 73 68; D Gilford 71 72 69; P Affleck 69 73 70; P Broadhurst 72 70 70; J Spence 70 71 71. 213 G Day (US) 74 70 69; D Mijovic (Can) 71 73 69; J Payne 69 73 71; S Richardson 70 72 71; P Hall 69 73 71; R Karlsson (Swe) 71 70 72; S Ames (Trin) 71 70 72; P Way 70 69 74; G Ralph 69 69 75. 214 R McFarlane 74 71 69; J Hawkes (SA) 70 75 69; M Gates 74 70 70; A Gillner (Swe) 71 73 70; I Aoki (Jap) 76 67 71; M Besanceney (Fr) 74 69 71; R Alvarez (Arg) 72 71 71; M McLean 72 71 71; R Chapman 69 70 75.

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