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Westwood joins Oosthuizen in WGC lead after 11-under 61 at Mission Hills

Story highlights

  • Lee Westwood cards 11-under 61 at WGC-HSBC Champions at Mission Hills
  • Westwood joins Louis Oosthuizen at top of the leaderboard on 18-under 198
  • Phil Mickelson third on 201 after third round 66
  • Brandt Snedeker shoots 12-under 60 to move up 31 places to seventh

Lee Westwood found his putting touch at last to shoot an 11-under 61 Saturday to join Louis Oosthuizen at the top of the leaderboard in the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament at Mission Hills in China.

The former World No.1 has struggled to back up his laser accuracy from tee to green in a frustrating 2012 but the foundation for his third round charge was a string of fine putts.

He holed four lengthy efforts on the back nine to round off a superb performance and catch South African Oosthuizen, who struggled to a two-under 70.

Searching for his first win in a World Golf Championship (WGC) event in 41 attempts, Westwood is feeling confident.

"As the week's gone on, and we've played it and walked it more, I started to sort of get a feel for the golf course more and sort of see the lower scores around it," he told the official European Tour website.

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"I played very solidly, got off to a nice start, birdied the first three holes and kept ticking over, birdieing the odd hole and finished strongly.

    "I hit it good, hit it in the fairway, hit it close, and made a couple of 20 footers which has been missing."

    Behind the leading pair, Phil Mickelson of the United States kept in contention with a six-under 66 to be three back, while British Open champion Ernie Els, American Bill Haas and England's Ian Poulter are a further stroke adrift.

    Round of the day came from PGA Tour Championship winner Brandt Snedeker, who shot a stunning 12- under 60 for 203, missing a putt on the final green for a magical 59.

    The 39-year-old Westwood, who is moving to Florida to campaign full time on the PGA Tour next year, is chasing his 11th win in Asia and his second on the European Tour this year, plus a $1.2 million check for the winner come Sunday.