Westwood maintains his lead ahead of Nordea's final round


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lee Westwood will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the Nordea Masters after keeping the chasing pack at bay in Stockholm yesterday.

A round of 68 was good enough for Westwood to maintain the advantage he had enjoyed at the halfway stage at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, although England's Ross Fisher, rather than Swede Peter Hanson, is now his nearest challenger. Westwood finished the day on 16 under par, with Fisher 13 under after a superb 65, and Ryder Cup team-mate Hanson a shot back after a battling 69.

"I played well, hit a lot of good shots and it was some solid stuff," Westwood said. "I didn't really get into much trouble. I got a bit of a flier on the second and that was the only bogey I made."

Westwood had started in the perfect fashion with a birdie on the par-five first, but that flier on the second saw him run up a bogey five. The world No 3 bounced back quickly with a stunning approach to the par-three fourth which finished just inches from the flag to set up the easiest of birdies. A number of other chances went begging on the front nine before Westwood rolled in a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th to ensure he would keep his nose in front following yesterday's superb 64.

"I did misread a couple of putts on the front nine, the one on five and the one on eight, but other than that I putted well," he added. "I've read the greens well this week and rolled in a couple of nice ones on the back nine. It [the weather] changed coming up 14, the breeze picked up a bit and made 14, 15, 16 play a bit tricky. That's what happens round this golf course, it's quite exposed out there on the lake and it's no easy finish."

In the St Jude Classic in Memphis, the world No 2, Rory McIlroy, who has been in exceptionally poor form, was one of 11 players to finish Thursday's first round three shots off the pace, which was set with rounds of 66 by John Merrick and Jeff Maggert.

McIlroy said: "I felt like that was about the best round of golf I played in a while. Off to a decent start. Lot of good signs out there. I'm getting the club in a better position. From there you have a little bit of freedom. You're not trying to protect against a bad shot. You're trying to hit the shot you can see."

It was announced yesterday that Tony Jacklin's son, Sean, 21, will play on the European Challenge Tour at Stoke-by-Nayland in Essex, starting on 26 July – the same weekend his father plays the Senior Open at Turnberry.

The 1969 Open champion Jacklin (who also won the 1970 US Open), now 67, has decided to return to the competitive game after five years, saying: "I'm sure as it gets closer I will be a bit more apprehensive, but I've been playing a bit more recently and Turnberry is one of my favourite spots."

Sean, the youngest of Jacklin's six children, recently graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he studied business administration.

"I always wanted to be a pro golfer," he said. "My dad never really had to push me because I never wanted to do anything else. I caddied for him when he played The Open in 2007 and when he finished he said, 'I'm done,' but since I've become a good player and I turned pro he's really getting back into it."