Schwartzel tracks Westwood at Thai golf champs
17 Dec 2011 - 13:46:42
Charl Schwartzel staged a dramatic fightback Saturday at the Thailand Golf Championship in a bid to overhaul runaway leader Lee Westwood, cutting his lead from 11 to just four shots in the third round.
While Westwood struggled to maintain his imperious form of the first two days which had put him on 20-under overnight, Masters champion Schwartzel showed grit and determination to force his way into contention with a six-under 66.
Westwood by contrast, had to battle hard for a one-over 73 at the Amata Spring Country Club course.
It could have been worse for the English star. In a rare slip, Schwartzel bogeyed the 18th hole to give the world number three some much-needed breathing space. The South African also missed some birdie opportunities.
Schwartzel had shown his intentions right from the start when he birdied four of the first five holes. In all he sunk seven birdies and suffered just the one bogey.
For the first time in the tournament, Westwood, who suffered his first bogey of the event at the second hole, was put under some pressure and it appeared to affect his game.
Westwood, who could replace Rory McIlroy as world number two if he wins this event, knows he will have to maintain his focus if he is to win the title.
Little known American Michael Thompson held third place after a steady 69, but is seven shots behind the leader.
Dutch player Guido Van Der Valk was in fourth place after firing an impressive 66, one shot ahead of England?s Simon Dyson who shot a 68.
A stroke further back was India?s Jyoti Randhawa. John Daly slipped back to joint 11th with a slightly disappointing 72.
Spain?s Sergio Garcia displayed improved form following a 70, but he is still well down the field as is Open winner Darren Clarke who hit a 73.
Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa had another poor day, shooting 77 for the second successive round.