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Page last updated at 00:20 GMT, Sunday, 11 April 2010 01:20 UK

Westwood eyes final Masters push

The Masters
Venue: Augusta
Sunday's coverage: Live on BBC Red Button and online from 1815-2300 BST. Live on BBC Two/BBC HD/Radio 5 live and online from 1900-0000. Text commentary on BBC Sport website

Lee Westwood
Westwood is bidding to become the first English major winner since 1996

Lee Westwood vowed to stick to his original game plan on Sunday after closing the third round of the Masters with a narrow lead at Augusta National.

The Englishman held off a charge from Phil Mickelson, who hit consecutive eagles, to post a 68 and move to 12 under par overall - a one shot lead.

Westwood is bidding to become the first English major winner since 1996.

"It was one of the great days in golf. I didn't pay much attention to what was going on, I stuck to my game," he said.

"I'm delighted. Any time you get round here in under 70 you've got to be pleased.

"I didn't hit many bad shots at all and I felt calm and collected.

"I felt confident in what I was doing. If I missed a green my short game was working well.

606: DEBATE

"It didn't affect the way I was playing - the only thing I can control is myself. I need to stick to the game plan I have on Sunday and execute that."

American Mickelson looked to be heading for the third-round lead outright after an inspired period of play on the back nine.

The left-hander hit brilliant eagles on 13 and 14 and came close to making it an unprecedented three in a row when a superb approach shot on 15 rolled just past the hole.

A bogey at 17 saw him drop to one shot behind, but the 2004 and 2006 champion will fancy his chances heading into the final day.

"That's about as fun as it gets," he said. "The shot on 13 was the one that really got me going. I took a risk and I was able to make eagle. It paid off and I almost went on and made three in a row.

"When a few 15 or 20 footers fall I think there's a mid 60s round there for me.

"I'm in a good spot and I'm playing as well as I have been for a long time. It's really cool but Sunday is when memories are made."

Former European Ryder Cup Bernard Gallacher has backed Westwood to hold his nerve and win his first major.

"This is very real and no-one should be surprised if Lee wins this," Gallacher told BBC Radio 5 live.

"He's taken his game to a new level and should have won the British Open last year.

"Lee is a fine player and no golfer in the world hits the ball better then Lee Westwood at the moment. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't win this now.

"Mickelson had a great day but is still a shot behind and Westwood can beat Tiger Woods today."

Woods endured an inconsistent third round with regular bogeys cancelling out some brilliant shots.

But four birdies in the last six holes saw him move up to joint third with Korean KJ Choi.

Tiger Woods

Woods optimistic despite 'tough' day

"I fought hard, I fought so hard to get back in the game - it was a tough day," the world number one admitted.

"I was just playing and trying to get myself back in the tournament. I was struggling really badly out there. I could have fallen out of contention. I was fighting it all day. I really struggled with the pace of the greens.

"I wanted to put myself in contention and I did that. I'm only four back - a good round and you never know."

Ian Poulter's hopes of a first major win suffered a blow though after his first over-par round of the tournament.

The Englishman looked solid until a bogey at 11 was followed by a double-bogey at the 12th that saw him slip back down the leaderboard.

"I put myself in trouble off the tee a few times and got out of trouble with a few shots," Poulter said.

"I was hanging in there but then I got a poor lie in the bunker on 12 and that was the only disappointing thing of the day.

"There was no sand at the front of the bunker, I was on a down slope and I had no shot. Consequently I made double bogey and that is a big blow.

"I'm a few shots adrift of where I wanted to be and I'm not overly happy right now.

"But I have a chance. This course can give up eagles quite easily and I have to go out and try and do that by playing well."



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see also
Westwood retains lead at Masters
11 Apr 10 |  Golf
Masters day three as it happened
10 Apr 10 |  Golf
Masters tee times
11 Apr 10 |  Golf
Westwood and Poulter lead Masters
09 Apr 10 |  Golf
Augusta Masters Weather Forecast
08 Apr 10 |  News
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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