Snedeker just misses 59, Westwood joint leader in China

Sat Nov 3, 2012 6:00am EDT
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SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) - Lee Westwood clambered to the top of the HSBC-WGC Champions Tournament leaderboard with an 11-under-par third round at Mission Hills on Saturday but the Englishman's flawless 61 was still just the second best score of the day.

Brandt Snedeker carded a course record 60, and came within a whisker of the first 59 on the European Tour, to sit on a combined 13 under and five shots behind joint leaders Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen.

Bogey-free Westwood said he enjoyed his late-year trips to Asia.

"It's generally pretty hot here and it was quite steamy out there today," he added. "But obviously the conditions here suit me with the grasses and the style of golf courses.

"And I have always been a middle-to-the-end-of year good player."

Then he added with a smile: "Other than that, the reason for playing well ... must be the grain or rice or something like that."

After being heavily criticized for his poor putting in the Majors this year, Westwood said he was pleased to have holed a couple of 20-foot birdie putts, an element that had been missing from his game most.

Oosthuizen had set a blistering pace in the first two rounds with scores of 65 and 63 but could not sustain it on Saturday, when he shot a two-under 70.

"It was frustrating," said the South African. "Early on I didn't play really well and then I started to find a little bit of form on the back nine but just didn't make any putts.   Continued...

Lee Westwood of England lines up a putt on the ninth green where he shot a birdie during the third day of the WGC-HSBC Champions Tournament at Mission Hills in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan November 3, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip