Friday, 19 March 2010

The low scoring continued for the fourth round’s early starters, but it seemed unlikely to yield a serious threat to the players at the top of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational leaderboard.

No fewer than 22 of the 52 players out on course or back in the clubhouse after their fourth round are beating or have beaten the par 70 South Course at the Firestone Country Club.

England’s Richard Finch is currently leading the way in the low scoring stakes, having picked up four strokes in 12 holes to go level par for the tournament, while Ernie Els also made inroads into his position.

The South African started on two over par overall, but birdies on the first and second took him to level par. He has since bogeyed the sixth to return to one over.

Elsewhere, Angel Cabrera is two under after ten holes - one over for the event – and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson birdied the first to reach two under overall.

Australia’s Adam Scott shot a final round 68 to set the clubhouse total at five over par, but the final benchmark will certainly be a lot lower.

Lee Westwood has a share of the three-way lead on eight under par with Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh, his playing partner in the final pairing of the day at Firestone Country Club.

Rounds of 70, 65 and 67 have given the Englishman a chance of breaking a ten-year winless streak in the United States, his only US PGA Tour title among his 27 career victories worldwide having come at the 1998 Freeport-McDermott Classic in New Orleans.

The leading trio begin their final rounds one stroke in front of Stuart Appleby with first-round leader Retief Goosen another two shots back on five under.

Also still in with a chance of victory are five men at four under, Darren Clarke, Chris DiMarco, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Rory Sabbatini and DJ Trahan.

Westwood came close to winning Stateside again in June’s US Open Championship at Torrey Pines, finishing one shot out of an 18-hole play-off with Rocco Mediate and eventual champion Tiger Woods.

Yet the 35 year old said he left San Diego that weekend without any negative thoughts except for “a little bit of disappointment”. 

“The couple of days afterwards, ‘what if’ goes through your head, that I could have been US Open champion,” Westwood said. 

“At the same time you can't let yourself dwell on those kind of emotions and you've got to turn the positives out.  Played great under pressure and nearly won a major.
“I'm not worried about not winning.  I'm just delighted about the consistency.  I know that winning is very fickle.  I went three years without winning and then won twice within four weeks. 

“Winning is strange.  Sometimes it doesn't go your way, sometimes somebody else plays a bit better.

“I could be easily US Open champion, but I didn't do the job when I needed to.  All you can do is give yourself chances, and I've given myself a lot of chances.

“I think consistency is what all professionals want.  That's what it's about, really.

“Obviously the more consistency, the higher you get up in the World Rankings.  If you show the consistency the wins will just come.  The more often you get yourself into the fray and feel the pressure of the last group and needing to make putts at certain times, the more comfortable you get, and then the wins come from there.”

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