Lee Westwood is making a determined bid to win his first World Golf Championship event and in the process also capture his first ever European Tour Volvo Order of Merit title.
The Englishman raced to the turn in four under par 32 during the third round of WGC-American Express Championship and is now a mere five shots behind tournament leader, Nick Price, who was still to start his round.
Westwood, 27, from Worksop, who has already won six events on this year’s European Tour, and is No. 2 on the money list behind Darren Clarke, began his round at level par but promptly went to two under after birdie three's at his first two holes. He dropped a shot at the 6th but then made amends with an eagle at the 533-yard par-5 7th and a birdie at the following hole.
Heading into his second nine, Westwood was one shot clear of Scottish rival, Colin Montgomerie, who also made a good start to his round with three straight pars and then a birdie at the 4th.
Among the others chasing No. 1 spot on the Volvo Order of Merit, Clarke was one under par through eight holes of his second round and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn was on two over par with three holes of his third round left to go.
Argentina’s Angel Cabrera, currently 13th on the Volvo Order of Merit title, started the third round at four over par but ended it at one under after a fine 67 that included a hole-in-one with an 8-iron at the 163-yard par-3 6th hole
Other golfers making a move in the right direction included José Maria Olazábal, who was four under par for his round and two under par in total through 15 holes of his third round, and Vijay Singh would birdied his first two holes to move four under par for the tournament.
The ominous figure of Tiger Woods, who started his round five shots off the pace at four under, opened his third round with two straight pars. However, it was better news for compatriot, Mark Calcavecchia, who opened with two birdie threes to move to seven under par for the tournament, two shots behind the leader, Price.
America’s Rocco Mediate withdrew before the start of the third round suffering from a back injury.