Westwood hits the front in Abu Dhabi

Lee Westwood turned in 31 to open up a two shot lead on a low scoring third day of the 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.

Lee Westwood

The Englishman already has one Rolex Series victory to his name and he made a spectacular eagle on the eighth to break out of a leading logjam at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

A birdie on the ninth saw him get to 12 under after ten holes and lead the way from playing partner Kurt Kitayama, overnight leader Francesco Laporta, Major Champion Sergio Garcia and China's Li Haotong.

German Sebastian Heisele and English pair Ross Fisher and Jack Senior were in the clubhouse at nine under, with six others at that mark on the course.

Heisele showed there was a low score out there from the very first group of the day, making birdies on his last four holes to add to gains on the first, third, fifth and tenth in a 64.

He was finished before the leaders had got under way and when they did, Italian Laporta dropped a shot on the second and there was briefly a seven way tie.

Westwood holed a ten footer on the third and then made a gutsy par save on the next before an excellent approach to the fifth saw him join the group at nine under.

In an almighty scrum on the leaderboard, the group at the top swelled to eight at one point, with over 40 players within three of the lead.

Westwood blew that all open with an incredible second at the par five eighth that took a bounce and rolled to within three feet for an eagle and two shot lead.

Thomas Detry had enjoyed a good day on the par fives, making birdies on the second, eighth and tenth to go with a gain on the ninth.

A tee shot to ten feet on the par three 12th then moved him into double figures.

Garcia had found the water at the fourth to surrender a bogey but he hit back with a long putt on the next and another long one on the eighth brought an eagle and he was one back.

Westwood regained his two shot lead with an approach to four feet at the ninth but Detry made it five birdies in six holes from eight feet on the 13th to trim the advantage again.

Laporta found sand off the eighth tee and had to lay up but hit a beautiful approach and was back to level par for the day.

After birdieing the second, Li found the water on the fourth and bogeyed the sixth but a stunning tee shot into the seventh, a long putt at the eighth and a nice approach to the ninth had him in double figures.

Kitayama took advantage of the second and tenth to go with a tee shot to three feet at the seventh, but Detry double bogeyed the 14th to slip down the leaderboard,

Fisher and Senior signed for rounds of 66 to sit alongside Heisele, Detry, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello, England's Matthew Fitzpatrick, South African Zander Lombard, Frenchman Victor Perez and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.

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