Westwood and Harrington locked in battle

Lee Westwood today produced a battling performance in miserable conditions to keep his hopes of becoming European number one alive in the third round of the Dunhill Links Championship.

Westwood carded four bogeys and a double bogey in his first six holes at a damp and windswept Carnoustie, and even a birdie on the ninth was only good enough to take him out in 41.

From joint sixth overnight, the Ryder Cup star was suddenly outside the top 40, but the 35-year-old dug in on the back nine to pick up two more birdies and complete a round of 76, four over par.

With only a handful of players under par for the day in the tough conditions at Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and St Andrews, that lifted Westwood back up to a share of 14th place when he finished, six shots off the lead currently held by Germany’s Martin Kaymer.

More importantly, however, it was also only two shots behind his Ryder Cup team-mate, and main rival for the Order of Merit title, Padraig Harrington.

Westwood is currently second in the Order of Merit behind Padraig Harrington, closing the gap to £180,000 (€229,554) by finishing second in the British Masters at The Belfry on Sunday.

Victory over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano in a play-off would have reduced the deficit by a further £100,000 (€127,530), but with the first prize this week a massive £432,000 (€550,930), there was still time for Westwood to reclaim the Harry Vardon Trophy he won in 2000.

Harrington’s round was similar to Westwood’s, the Irishman going to the turn in 40 with four bogeys in five holes from the second, before birdies on the 12th and 15th took him back into contention at four under par.

Playing alongside Harrington, Karlsson also endured a miserable front nine of 41 but picked up shots on the 11th and 14th before a bogey on the 15th.

At three under par he was one behind his playing partner but still in with a chance with tomorrow’s final round over the Old Course at St Andrews to come.

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