Mon, Dec 06, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Lee Westwood holds onto five-shot lead in S Africa

Reuters, SUN CITY, South Africa

World No. 1 Lee Westwood shot a one-under-par 71 to stretch his lead to five after the third round of the Sun City Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club on Saturday.

Westwood’s game was not as hot as on the second day when his electrifying eight-under-par 64 gave him a three-shot lead, but he remained firmly in control, registering birdies on the second, sixth and 10th holes.

However, the extreme heat packed a punch and the Briton faded towards the end with bogeys at the 13th and 17th.

“It was pretty hot, I felt drained and the legs were weary on the back nine,” Westwood told a news conference. “But I was three ahead at the start of the round and now the lead is five, which you don’t expect when you’re two-over for the last eight holes.”

Fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, who was still three shots behind Westwood after 12 holes, collapsed badly as he sent his tee-shots at the 14th and 15th into trees, bogeying both holes, before finding the water in front of the 17th green and crashing to a double-bogey.

Fisher finished with a one-over-par 73 and slipped to eight-under overall. He was joined in a tie for second by South African Tim Clark, who soared up the leaderboard with a well-crafted round of 68.

Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez was in fourth place on seven--under-par, with three-time champion Ernie Els on six-under after both had briefly threatened to play themselves into contention. The duo carded 71s.

Westwood felt conditions on Saturday had been much tougher than on the first two days.

“It was tricky, there was a lot more wind, the tees were back and the pins tucked away,” he said. “The course is in the middle of a volcano and so the wind swirls around the hills, it’s the nature of the beast. Three bogeys in 54 holes is pretty good going.”

World Challenge

AFP, THOUSAND OAKS, California

Tiger Woods capped a third-round 68 with a birdie to maintain a four-stroke lead over US Open champion Graeme McDowell in the World Challenge golf tournament on Saturday. His four-under par round at Sherwood Country Club gave him a 17-under total of 199.

Northern Ireland’s McDowell also carded a 68 to stay four back, right where he started the day, on 203. Their closest follower in the 18-man field was England’s Paul Casey,

Woods is seeking his first victory of 2010, a year in which his struggles on the course have mirrored the personal travails that saw his marriage end.

Although this unofficial event that Woods hosts for the benefit of his charitable foundation wouldn’t give him a PGA Tour title, it could provide a valuable boost as he heads into next year.

Furyk player of year

AFP, THOUSAND OAKS, California

Jim Furyk, who won three titles and the FedEx Cup playoff title, was named the US PGA Tour Player of the Year for 2010 on Saturday.

Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced the honor, which is decided by a vote of the tour’s players, at the Tiger Woods-hosted World Challenge unofficial tournament. It’s a first Player of the Year award for the 40-year-old American, who won the Transitions Championship, the Heritage and the season--ending Tour Championship.

Furyk’s three victories were more than any other player and he had seven top-10 finishes in 21 starts. South African Ernie Els and Americans Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Masters champion Phil Mickelson were also in contention. Finalists were nominated by the player advisory council, with players who made at least 15 starts eligible to vote on a winner.

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