Andy Sullivan is just one stroke behind leader Lee Westwood of England after the third round of the Maybank Malaysian Open.
KUALA LUMPUR: It will be an exciting final round at the Maybank Malaysian Open after former world No. 1 Lee Westwood of England saw his lead whittled down to just one stroke by compatriot Andy Sullivan at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Westwood, seventh at the US Masters in Augusta a week ago, started the day four shots ahead of the chasing pack and, at one stage, he even stretched it to five before a closing bogey saw him sign for a third round of one-under 71 on Saturday.
The world No. 36 sits at 14-under 202 with Sullivan one back following an impressive six-under 66 on Saturday.
Frenchman Julien Quesne is third on 10-under 206 after carding a three-under 69 while Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts is a shot further behind in fourth.
Westwood knew it wouldn’t be plain sailing as he targets a second Malaysian Open title the moment he bogeyed the 18th after finding a fairway bunker with his second shot.
“It was tricky out there. I didn’t play as well as I did the first two days, but there were some difficult flags and it was really hot. That’s as hot as I’ve been on a golf course for quite some time,” he said.
Westwood, who won the Malaysian Open back in 1997, said the heat affected his focus on Saturday.
“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.
“It will be hot again, so I just have to try to keep control of my swing, the ball and my emotions.
“It’s easy to get wound up when it’s as hot and humid as this.”
Fellow Englishman Sullivan will be waiting to pounce should Westwood slip up on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Sullivan, who has yet to win on the European Tour, moved into second place on 13-under after firing seven birdies en route to a 66.
Sullivan reduced the gap to three with a birdie of his own from the 12th.
He further trimmed Westwood’s lead with a curling birdie putt on the 16th before parring the final two holes.
“I didn’t look at the leaderboard until I finished. I’ll just do the same on the last day and see where it takes me,” said Sullivan, who also admitted that it was difficult to focus under the intense heat.
“It was all quite satisfying. I just played good again and tried to limit my mistakes. I only made one mistake but I got it back straight away. I just played really good and am delighted with my finish.
“I felt myself getting a bit tired coming up on the 15th and 16th. I had a couple of sloppy swings in there but I did not drop any shots. I holed a good putt on 16 to keep the momentum going. It was tough out there to keep your concentration but I’m glad my adrenaline kept me going.
“Hopefully I can play good golf and catch the leader.”