Westwood joins Oosthuizen in lead in China
Shenzhen, China (Sports Network) - Lee Westwood fired an 11-under 61 on Saturday and that helped him join Louis Oosthuizen atop the leaderboard after three rounds of the WGC - HSBC Champions.
Oosthuizen managed a 2-under 70 in round three. The duo finished 54 holes at 18-under-par 198.
They set a new 54-hole scoring record. David Howell had set the old mark of 200 in 2005 and Fredrik Jacobson matched that total last year.
Phil Mickelson, a 2-time winner of this event, birdied the last to shoot 6- under 66. He stands alone in third place at minus-15.
Ian Poulter (65), Ernie Els (69) and Bill Haas (66) share fourth place at minus-14.
Brandt Snedeker set a new course record on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills with his 12-under 60. He finished 54 holes at 13-under-par 203.
Snedeker's birdie putt at the last missed on the right. If that had gone, he would have been the first player to shoot 59 on the European Tour. As it stands, his 60 was not only a course record, but the lowest score ever shot in a World Golf Championship event.
Defending champion Martin Kaymer (67) is one stroke back at minus-12.
Westwood was nine strokes off the pace to start the round. He poured in three straight birdies to start his round Saturday. He also birdied the fifth, seventh and ninth to make the turn at 13-under, where he was still four off the lead.
The Englishman converted a birdie chance on the par-5 11th before parring his next two holes. Westwood rolled in a 30-foot birdie try at 14. He followed with birdies at 15 and 16 to gain a piece of the lead.
Westwood drained an 18-footer for birdie at 17 to move one clear. He had a similar length putt at the last, but failed to convert.
"I shot 67 yesterday with three bogeys, so I knew there were a lot of birdies out there. As the week's gone on, I've found my way around the golf course," Westwood said. "The idea today was to shoot a low enough score to get myself a chance tomorrow, which I've done."
Oosthuizen, who was hot throughout he second round, failed to keep his momentum going in the third round. He opened with three straight pars, including a par at the par-5 third, which was his first par on a par-5 all week.
The South African birdied the fourth to push his lead to four over Els. However, Oosthuizen stumbled to a 3-putt bogey at the fifth.
The Masters runner-up 2-putted for birdie on the seventh, but was just two clear of Els, who was 4-under par for his round through seven holes.
Oosthuizen parred three in a row from the eighth. He blasted out of the sand to within two feet at 11 and kicked that in for birdie. He failed to get up and down for par on No. 12, and he was just one ahead at that point.
After a pair of pars, Oosthuizen 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 15th. That gave him a share of the lead with Westwood. Oosthuizen ended there as he parred the final three holes.
"Early I didn't play really well and then started to find a little bit of form on the back nine, but just didn't make any putts," stated Oosthuizen. "I still gave myself birdie opportunities, just normal ones and the ones I hit really close, I just didn't make. So the putter went cold on me today, but I still hit good putts which is very frustrating."
Snedeker birdied his first four holes to get his round going. He birdied the seventh and ninth to post 6-under 30 on the front nine.
After birdies at 10 and 13, Snedeker poured in an eagle effort at No. 15. He followed with birdies at 16 and 17 to have a chance for 59. Snedeker's approach stopped about 20 feet from the hole. His birdie effort narrowly missed the right edge so he settled for 60.
"A lot fun out there today, but it was a little disappointing having a putt at 59 on the last hole and not make it," Snedeker stated. "I got myself back in the golf tournament, and that was the whole goal today. It gives me a chance tomorrow. Today is great, but it is a little disappointing not to shoot it when you're that close."
Kaymer shares eighth place with Adam Scott (71), Carl Pettersson (66), Scott Piercy (68) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (63).
NOTES: Oosthuizen and Els matched the previous course record of 63 on Friday before it was broken twice in the third round ... Els played the first 50 holes this week without a bogey until he double-bogeyed the par-5 15th.
11/03 05:13:22 ET