Lee Westwood (Getty Images)
England’s Lee Westwood retained his three shot lead with a round to go at the Nordea Masters after recording a 68 at Bro Hof Slott.
The World Number Three did not reach the same heights as his stunning second round 64, but his four under par effort took him to 16 under and three clear of compatriot Ross Fisher.
“I played well,” said Westwood. “I hit a lot of good shots and it was solid stuff. I didn’t get into too much trouble – I had a bit of a flyer on the second and that was the only bogey I made all day.”
With the Stockholm course again in perfect shape for good scoring, Westwood flew out the blocks with a birdie at the first after splashing out a greenside bunker to within two feet.
The 39 year old found sand at the next and bogeyed, but responded with a tee shot that finished inches from the cup at the short fourth.
By that stage Fisher, third last week at The Celtic Manor Resort, had emerged as the main contender to Westwood’s dominance.
The 31 year old Ryder Cup star was already two under for the day when he holed a 25 foot birdie putt at the ninth to turn in 33.
Fisher continued to charge, two-putting the long 12th for birdie, rolling in a 30 footer at the next and completing a hattrick of gains with a stiffed approach to a foot at the 14th.
The four-time European Tour winner then chipped in at the 16th for a seventh birdie of the day and parred in for a sublime 65.
But Westwood was in no mood to see his lead diminished, and immediately reeled off a hattrick of birdies of his own with a 15 footer at the 11th, a chip to two feet at the 12th and a ten foot birdie putt at the next.
Fisher said: “I’ve played really nicely, I’m gradually getting better. Hopefully I can continue the trend tomorrow.
“I’ve gone head to head with Westy a couple of time, he’s a world-class golfer and that’s how we judge our game – against the best players in the world.”
Swedish hopes of a third consecutive home win in this event after Richard S Johnson and Alex Noren’s triumphs look best placed with Peter Hanson.
The Ryder Cup star had a difficult front nine but holed a 15 footer at the tenth, a second from sand over water to the edge of the green at the 13th, an approach to three feet at the 14th and six footer for birdie at the last for an inward 32 and 69.
That left Hanson on 12 under overall, four back with a round to play, with first-round leader Richard Bland fourth on 11 under.
Noren continued his remarkable recovery from an opening 74 with a second successive 66 to move into fifth on ten under, alongside compatriot Michael Jonzon.