Westwood grabs share of HSBC lead

9:31 am | November 5, 2012

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Lee Westwood made 11 birdies in a round of 61 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead with Louis Oosthuizen after the third round of the HSBC Champions.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, came into the weekend with a five-stroke lead over the field, but struggled with his putting and had a 70.

The South African had a chance to retake the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, but missed by inches — the last of many near misses throughout the day.

Westwood and Oosthuizen were at 18-under 198. Phil Mickelson (66) made seven birdies and was three shots back.

Ernie Els briefly surged into a share of the lead on the back nine before dumping his ball into a reservoir on the tricky 15th hole and taking a double bogey. He finished with a 69 and was tied for fourth with Bill Haas (66) and Ian Poulter (65) at 202.

It was the second time in three weeks Westwood shot a 61 — he also had one to beat Charl Schwartzel in the semifinals of the World Golf Final exhibition in Turkey in mid-October.

But as good as his score was Saturday, it wasn’t even the low round of the day. That belonged to American Brandt Snedeker, who had a chance at a 59, but just missed a birdie putt on the 18th hole and settled for a 60 — a new course record — and a 203 total.

Starting the day back in 12th place, Westwood began his charge up the leaderboard with three consecutive birdies on the first three holes.

He then birdied the fifth and seventh holes and sunk a 10-foot putt for another birdie on the 573-yard par-5 ninth hole to make the turn at 13 under, four strokes back. The Englishman kept up the pressure on the back nine, closing his round with four more birdies to catch Oosthuizen and Els.

After two rounds of nearly flawless golf, Oosthuizen was five strokes up on the field and looked to be comfortably in control going into the weekend. His two-round score of 16-under 128 was the lowest through 36 holes at any World Golf Championship event since they began in 1999.

MIZUNO CLASSIC

SHIMA, Japan (AP) — South Korea’s Lee Bo-mee shot an 8-under 64 to take a four-stroke lead after the second round of the Mizuno Classic.

Lee, a regular on the Korean tour, had a 10-under 134 total at Kintetsu Kashikojima. Japan’s Rikako Morita was second after a 68.

American Angela Stanford shot a 71 and was tied for third at 4 under with South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, France’s Karine Icher and Japan’s Ayako Uehara.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng was 3 under after a 70 in the event sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and Japan LPGA.

ASIA-PACIFIC AMATEUR

BANGKOK (AP) — Guan Tianlang of China is one round away from becoming the first 14-year-old to play in the Masters.

Guan overcame some early nerves and a difficult course at Amata Spring with a par 72 to take a two-shot lead over Oliver Goss of Australia going into the final day of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.

The winner gets an invitation to play in the Masters, along with an exemption to the final stage of qualifying for the British Open. The youngest competitor in Masters history was Matteo Manassero of Italy, who was 16 in 2010.

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