Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Golf

Westwood takes lead in Dubai

Rory McIlroy and Thomas Bjorn opened the door to the chasing pack at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic - and Lee Westwood was only too happy to walk in as he shot a five-under-par 67 to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.

Overnight leaders McIlroy and Bjorn shot 72 and 73 respectively, Northern Ireland's US Open champion going into the water on the short seventh and Bjorn doing the same at the 564-yard last.

That led to the 40-year-old Dane's third bogey in the final four holes and he is now down in joint ninth place on 12 under, three behind Westwood, who was three behind at the halfway point.

McIlroy, who won his first professional tournament on the Emirates course three years ago, is only two back in a tie for fifth, but knows that unless he plays better Westwood is likely to grab his world number two spot back.

Joint second on 14 under are Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, German Marcel Siem and Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello.

Not one of them is in the world's top 100, but they all need no reminding that England's Robert Rock managed to upstage Tiger Woods and the world's top four in Abu Dhabi only two weeks ago.

Westwood is seeking a third title in his last six starts, having left fields for dead in South Africa and Thailand at the end of last year.

"It's not like I've forgotten how to win," the 38-year-old from Worksop told Sky Sports. "I've won 30-odd times, so I'm used to knowing what to do when I'm leading. I played nicely again. I got off to a good start with three birdies in the first four, hit a lot of quality iron shots and rolled the ball well on the green."

Gallacher had a hole-in-one at the 15th in his opening 69 - it won him a car - and is seeking only his second European Tour victory. The first came at St Andrews in the Dunhill Links championship eight years ago.

Cabrera-Bello and Siem also have only one Tour title to their name. The Canary Islander's came with a closing 60 in Austria three years ago, while Siem's sole success was also in 2004.


From Belfast Telegraph