Westwood goes for 1st major, grabs 2-shot lead over Woods, Mahan with round left at Muirfield

  • Article by: DOUG FERGUSON , AP Golf Writer
  • Updated: July 21, 2013 - 7:17 AM

view larger photos

  

GULLANE, Scotland — Lee Westwood has contended enough in the majors that he can identify important moments, even if he could barely see his ball.

He had a one-shot lead over Tiger Woods, standing in grass up to his knees in the dunes left of the par-3 16th hole. It was one of the few bad shots Westwood hit Saturday at Muirfield, and by far his worst predicament. Westwood slashed at the ball and it didn't reach the green. He used a putter to belt his next shot up the hill to 12 feet.

What followed was a finish that allowed him to believe he was closer than ever to ending his 20-year pursuit of a major.

Westwood poured in the putt to salvage bogey. He picked up two shots on Woods with a birdie on the next hole. He closed with a solid par, giving him a two-shot lead going into the final round, and most significant Sunday of his career.

"That was probably the biggest momentum thing I did all day — walk off there with a bogey," Westwood said. "That's what's been missing, making those putts. And back it up with a birdie at the next. Those are the sort of things you need to do."

Had he made putts like that, Westwood might not have missed the playoff at the U.S. Open that Woods won in 2008 at Torrey Pines. Or the playoff at Turnberry in 2009. He might even have been able to hold off Phil Mickelson at the Masters in 2010.

Westwood is widely considered the best player of his generation without a major. Maybe that's about to change.

The 40-year-old from England passed one big test when he outplayed Woods on another tough day at Muirfield for a 1-under 70 and grabbed a two-shot lead over Woods and Hunter Mahan, the only players still under par.

"Even though I haven't won a major, I know what it takes to win one," said Westwood, who was at 3-under 210. "It's just a case of going out there tomorrow and having the confidence in my game, which I've got. And putting it to the test."

Sunday figures to be the toughest test of all.

Despite his late blunder by hitting into a bunker and making bogey on the par-5 17th, Woods held it together for a 72. Mahan matched the best score of the third round with a 68 and will play in the final group for the second straight major.

"I've got 14 of these things, and I know what it takes to win it," Woods said. "He's won tournaments all over the world. He knows how to win golf tournaments. He's two shots ahead and we're going to go out there and both compete and play. It's not just us two. There's a bunch of guys who have a chance to win this tournament. And all of us need to really play well tomorrow to win it."

Westwood is the 54-hole leader for the second time in his career. He will try to become only the eighth player dating to 1861 to capture his first major in his 40s. He was hopeful the other close calls will serve him well, though the 40-year-old from England didn't seem all that uptight about it.

"I'm hoping it's going to turn out differently because I haven't won one yet and I'd like to win one," Westwood said. "But what can you do? You can only do what you think is right and put all that practice and hard work you've done tomorrow, try not to get in your own way mentally and just focus on the job at hand and believe you're good enough."

He was plenty good on another warm, sunny afternoon on a course that was noticeable softer but no less demanding.

Woods lost his chance to get in the final group with one swing.

Tied with Westwood as they played the par-5 17th into a stiff breeze off the Firth of Forth, Woods tried to hit 3-wood over a series of bunkers to allow for a simple wedge into the green. With his ball on the slightest slope, he got it up in the air just enough that the wind grabbed it and deposited the ball in the bunker. Woods had to blast out sideways and missed a 15-foot par putt.

Woods twice had at least a share of the 36-hole lead in majors a year ago and fell out of contention on Saturday. Despite the late bogey, he did well enough this time that he was only two shots behind. This is his best chance to end his five-year drought in the majors since the upheaval in his personal life at the end of 2009.

  • related content

  • British Open leaderboard

    Saturday July 20, 2013

  • Day 2 at Muirfield

    Saturday July 20, 2013

    DAY 2AT MUIRFIELDKeep that cardRyan Moore: He had a 3-under round going through 14 holes before a bogey bit him...

  • US captain Meg Mallon busy as Solheim approaches

    Friday July 19, 2013

    Meg Mallon, captain of the United States team at the fast-approaching Solheim Cup matches, likens her job to being a very busy wedding planner.

  • A Rose by any other name still headed for the exit

    Friday July 19, 2013

    Two weeks after enjoying the perks of a U.S. Open champion, from dining with the prime minister to watching the Wimbledon men's final from the Royal Box, Justin Rose led...

  • 'The Iceman' stays solid in Muirfield heat

    Friday July 19, 2013

    If Scandinavia is to celebrate a first-ever major winner, "The Iceman" will need to stay solid in the Muirfield heat this weekend.

  • Westwood in contention at a major once again

    Friday July 19, 2013

    Lee Westwood was addressing a birdie putt on the ninth green when a child starting crying in the packed stand just behind him.

  • Woods hangs tough, sets up a chance for major win

    Friday July 19, 2013

    Tiger Woods couldn't get anything close all day except for the one place that mattered at the British Open.

  • Schwartzel tames Muirfield, calls it a 'lottery'

    Friday July 19, 2013

    A day after snapping his 8-iron in disgust, Charl Schwartzel has gone on the offensive again at the British Open.

  • Tiger Woods of the United States, left, and Lee Westwood of England pr...

  • Phil Mickelson of the United States plays out of a bunker onto the 4th...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close