AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Lee Westwood, hunting his first major title, still has a “slight sniff” of victory at the Masters after ending Saturday’s third round five strokes off the lead.
The British world number three ground out an even-par 72 at Augusta National, briefly holding a share of the lead, but his momentum stalled with untimely bogeys, one of them after a missed putt from just 18 inches at the ninth.
”I didn’t quite have it today. I made too many mistakes,“ Westwood told reporters after offsetting four birdies with four bogeys to post a four-under total of 212. ”That was a bad bogey at nine, missed a short one left.
”I bogeyed some holes that should have been birdie and missed a couple of short putts.
“But four under with the lead at nine still has a slight sniff, if I get it going early on and make a few birdies. I‘m just going to hit a few balls now and find a bit of a swing.”
Westwood, who has six times finished in the top three at majors, was especially frustrated by his bogeys at the par-three 12th and the par-five 13th.
”Those were bad bogeys,“ said the 38-year-old, who led by one shot after shooting a five-under 67 in Thursday’s opening round. ”One of them you’re trying to birdie, the 13th, and the 12th is the easiest flag.
“I wasn’t hitting it too solid today which makes it difficult if you haven’t got the distance control.”
Westwood, who finished second here in 2010 when he also opened with a 67, was reminded of the storming four-birdie finish by South African Charl Schwartzel to win last year’s Masters.
“This golf course gives you a chance if you’re playing well,” the Briton said. “You’ve got the par-fives, especially the par-fives on the back nine. They’ve got the flags set so you can make a couple of eagles.”
Westwood lies joint sixth going into Sunday’s final round, five shots behind pacesetting Swede Peter Hanson and four adrift of three-times champion Phil Mickelson.
Editing by Peter Rutherford