Saturday, 27 September 2008

Short day's work for Westwood, but an eventful one

It was a strange old day for Lee Westwood today. Starting late, about half four or so in the afternoon, due to the fog delays and players having to complete their second rounds, he got off to a cold start. The putter was especially cold, like it had spent the night in the freezer. He was teeing off on the tenth to begin his round, a tricky par four, but with the tee moved forward it was reachable with a five wood. Westwood could only find the wrong side of the burn (Scottish for a wee stream) and his ball bounced into the water. The resultant bogey was followed with two more on the 11th and 12th. Three over after three, a terrible start for the defending champ. He gave himself a few opportunities to get the momentum back, but his frigid putter just wouldn't warm enough to see any birdies drop.

On the par five 17th his second shot approach was off target, finding the right greenside bunker. Not much was going right. Westwood, as if he knew that he had to take his failing putter out of the equation, went and knocked in his bunker shot for an Eagle and from there he was a new man. The first hole aside, his driving was impeccable and with more booming tee shots finding fairways, he was finding his touch and he saw a long birdie putt just kiss the edge on the next and then a long one on the first, his tenth hole of the day, took a bobble and dropped right in the centre. As the warmth of the day faded with the setting sun, he was the only man on the course not to reach for a jumper to shelter form the cold. He hit another massive drive and a decent approach before the light ended his round, he'll have a fifteen footer for birdie when he gets out in the morning. He'll be feeling that the hooter came much too soon for him. It left him even for the day and he is six under overall with eight holes of the third round left to complete.

The round of the day however was a fantastic surge from unheralded South African Charl Schwartzel. Starting on the tenth as well, he was even par at the start of the third round, by the time he had nine holes under his belt he was seven under. Only two pars, on the par three 12th and the par five 15th, the rest all birdies. An incredible run. It had to end and the front nine was not so giving; double bogey on the 4th and one birdie on the 8th leaving him on 6 under par alongside Westwood.

The overnight lead is held by three men - New Zealander Michael Campbell, who was four under today with four left to play, Swede Mikael Lundberg, 5 under today with seven birdies had four to play and Alejandro Canizares, 2 under today with eight to play. It could be any of twenty men leading by the end of tomorrow however. It's a tightly packed leaderboard and with some great scoring but also some holes where big numbers can quickly be racked up (ask Darren Clarke and Nick Dougherty who both had quadruple bogeys this week). And with the leaders having 26 holes to finish tomorrow, anything could happen. Should be cracking.

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