SHENZHEN, China — Lee Westwood made 11 birdies in a round of 61 on Saturday to grab a share of the lead with Louis Oosthuizen after the third round of the HSBC Champions.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, came into the weekend with a five-stroke lead over the field, but struggled with his putting, shooting a 70.
The South African had a chance to retake the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, but missed by inches — the last of many near misses throughout the day.
Westwood and Oosthuizen were at 18-under 198. Phil Mickelson (66) made seven birdies and was three shots back.
Ernie Els briefly surged into a share of the lead on the back nine before dumping his ball into a reservoir on the tricky 15th hole and taking a double bogey. He finished with a 69 and was tied for fourth with Bill Haas (66) and Ian Poulter (65) at 202.
Westwood, a former world No. 1, has long been considered one of the most consistent golfers, yet he’s never broken through to win a major, finishing runner-up twice — at the Masters and British Open in 2010.
He’s also played in more World Golf Championship events than any other golfer (41), but his best result is second place on three occasions, most recently at the HSBC Champions in 2010 when he lost to Francesco Molinari by one stroke.
“It does surprise me that I’ve played more than anyone else. I didn’t realize I was that old,” the 39-year-old Englishman said. “I know I’ve played a lot. I’ve never won one.”
It was the second time in three weeks Westwood shot a 61 — he also had one to beat Charl Schwartzel in the semifinals of the World Golf Final exhibition in Turkey in mid-October.
But as good as his score was Saturday, it wasn’t even the low round of the day. That belonged to American Brandt Snedeker, who had a chance at a 59, but just missed a birdie putt on the 18th hole and settled for a 60 — a new course record — and a 203 total.
“You don’t get a chance to shoot 59 too often, maybe a couple of times in your career,” he said. “I’d love to have that putt again.”
in on another
Champions Tour title
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tom Lehman took the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship and moved closer to becoming the first player to win the Champions Tour’s season points title two straight years.
Lehman birdied the final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples in the season-ending event. Couples also shot a 62, making two eagles.
Lehman shot the lowest round of his Champions Tour career for the second straight day. At 63-62 and 15 under, he was a stroke off the tour record for consecutive rounds set by Bruce Fleisher at 60-64 and 16 under in the 2002 RJR Championship.
Couples is playing for the first time since a back injury forced him to withdraw during the first round of the Boeing Classic outside Seattle in late August.
Lehman was 17 under after three days in perfect conditions on Desert Mountain’s Cochise Course. He entered the week second behind Bernhard Langer in the Charles Schwab Cup competition for a $1 million annuity.
Langer, tied for 10th at 6 under after a 70, was a projected 529 points behind Lehman after starting play Thursday with a 211-point lead.
Jay Haas, five strokes ahead of Lehman at the start of the round after matching the tour-record Friday with a 60, had a 69 to drop two strokes back.
by 4 at Mizuno
SHIMA, Japan — South Korea’s Lee Bo-mee shot an 8-under 64 to take a four-stroke lead after the second round of the Mizuno Classic.
Lee, a regular on the Korean tour, had a 10-under 134 total at Kintetsu Kashikojima. Japan’s Rikako Morita was second after a 68.
American Angela Stanford shot a 71 and was tied for third at 4 under with South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, France’s Karine Icher and Japan’s Ayako Uehara.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng was 3 under after a 70 in the event sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and Japan LPGA.