Sullivan closes in on Westwood
Overnight leader Lee Westwood saw his four-shot lead reduced to one stroke by countryman Andy Sullivan after a tough third round at the Maybank Malaysian Open yesterday.
Englishman Westwood, the 1997 winner, battled to a one-under 71 under sweltering conditions for a three-day total of 14-under 202 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Sullivan produced the day's joint low round of 66 to charge into contention at the US$2.75 million ($3.46m) championship sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Frenchman Julien Quesne fired a 69 to lie four off the pace in third place while Ryder Cup star Nicholas Colsaerts of Belgium settled for a 72 to trail a further shot back, reported asiantour.com.
Japan's Masahiro Kawamura, a winner on the Asian Tour last season, was the best placed Asian on tied-fifth following a 70, six shots behind Westwood who has led since the opening round. Filipino Antonio Lascuna, playing in the last group with Westwood, shot a disappointing 77 to drop to tied-23rd.
Westwood dropped a bogey at the finishing hole as he battled hard to hold on to his overnight lead to stay in the hunt to end a two-year title drought which dates back to the 2012 Nordea Masters in Sweden.
"It was really hot. That's as hot as I've been on a golf course for quite some time. It was a real grind. I was leaking out there a little bit. You can get glazed up and lose your concentration quite easily. But I'm leading going into the last round, so I'm quite happy with that," said Westwood, who has won 12 times in the region.
The world No. 3 was two under for the day through 11 holes before the birdies dried up. He parred the next six holes but missed a par putt on 18 to allow Sullivan to get to within one of the lead.
"It will be hot again so I'll have to try to keep control of my swing, the ball and my emotions. It is easy to get wound up when it is as hot and humid as this," said Westwood, who turns 41 this week.
Defending champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand had to withdraw before the start of the third round due to tonsillitis.
202: Lee Westwood 65-66-71.
203: Andy Sullivan 70-67-66.
206: Julien Quesne 68-69-69.
207: Nicolas Colsaerts 66-69-72.
208: Rikard Karlberg 72-69-67, Garth Mulroy 71-68-69, Masahiro Kawamura 68-70-70, Ricardo Santos 67-71-70, Eduardo de la Riva 69-68-71, Danny Willett 70-66-72. 209: Tom Lewis 70-71-68, Louis Oosthuizen 72-68-69, Scott Jamieson 68-71-70.