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Sunday, 11 April 2010
Lee Westwood  (Getty Images)
Lee Westwood (Getty Images)

Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson head into a final day showdown in The Masters Tournament at Augusta National - after a Saturday that will live long in the memory of all those who saw it.

In the space of an amazing 27 minutes Mickelson turned a five shot deficit into a one stroke lead when he holed a 139 yard approach to the 14th for a second successive eagle and then came within six inches of making it three in a row.

But there was still time for at least one more switch of momentum and it came when Mickelson three-putted the 17th and Westwood found the green in two on the long 15th and birdied to move one ahead again.

Parring from there was hard work, but he did it for a 68 and 12 under aggregate of 204 to become the first Englishman to lead the event after 54 holes since Peter Oosterhuis in 1973.

He had, of course, shared top spot at halfway with compatriot Ian Poulter, but the World Golf Championships-Accenture World Match Play champion managed only a 74 and fell back into a tie for sixth six strokes back.

Joint third now are Tiger Woods and K J Choi, but they have four shots to make up - and to win his first event for nearly five months Woods will have to do something he has never done before.

All his 14 Majors have come from the front on the final day, but whatever the outcome it has been a remarkable return.

Asked if he felt ready to win a major - he has finished third in the last two and at the 2008 US Open Championship - Westwood replied: "I think I am ready.

"I felt very calm out there, confident in what I was doing. Every aspect of my game felt good and I thought my way round well.

"The roars (from those watching Mickelson) didn't affect the way I was playing. The only thing I can control is myself.

"What Phil is doing is no importance to my game plan. I think I have found a way to play the course that suits me."

Mickelson, round in 67 to keep his hopes alive of a third Green Jacket, commented: "I had an unfortunate break with a mud ball on the tenth, but it evens itself out - you don't plan on balls going on.

"I've not played this well in a long time. My game is as good as it's been and I'm looking forward to the final round.

"I love this course more than any other and I am excited about Sunday."

He is also thrilled to have his wife and mother in Augusta, but not at the course, after their battles with breast cancer.

"It's cool. This is the first time they have travelled since The Players last year (11 months ago)."

Woods mixed five bogeys with seven birdies, but finishing with a superb second to three feet on the 18th lifted him into the penultimate group.

"I was fighting all day," he stated. "My warm-up was not very good and I struggled with the pace of the greens. It was a tough day.

"I just want to put myself in contention and I have done that. A good round tomorrow and you never know. We have a long way to go and it was good to claw my way back."

 

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