Westwood overcomes woeful start

Lee Westwood overcame the worst possible start today – not just a double bogey, but a broken driver as well – to keep alive his hopes of clinching a Ryder Cup wild card with his first win for three years.

Lee Westwood overcame the worst possible start today – not just a double bogey, but a broken driver as well – to keep alive his hopes of clinching a Ryder Cup wild card with his first win for three years.

Westwood, suffering from suspected tonsilitis and also being monitored for fatigue, hooked his opening drive into a ditch and then saw the reason why.

The driver had a hairline crack on the head and so on the next hole the former European number one asked a rules official to bring him a replacement from his locker.

“What else can go wrong?” asked Westwood, but he then covered the next 10 holes in two under and on four under was only four behind leader Bradley Dredge.

Swede Peter Hedblom had charged into a three-stroke advantage at the start of the day with four birdies in his first seven holes, but then fell back from eight under to six under and Welshman Dredge took over at the top by following a birdie at the short 17th with an eagle on the 568-yard 18th.

He was one in front of Australian Matthew Millar, while Westwood was in a tie for 13th spot.

Like Westwood Paul McGinley got off to a shaky start, but in his case it followed a 75 and the Dubliner was left with a sizeable task just to stay in the tournament.

From the right-hand rough on the 10th his second shot hardly got off the ground and only just avoided going into a water hazard.

It cost him a bogey, but it might have been worse and he then had birdies on the 15th, 16th and 18th before another dropped shot at the first put him two over – three outside the expected cut mark.

McGinley is 10th in the cup race with just three rounds to go, but although departing with two of those to go would be a worrying blow for him all three players chasing him – Paul Broadhurst, Johan Edfors and John Bickerton – had to find their best form.

Broadhurst would need to finish third and with six to play today was two under and only 37th, while Edfors requires first or second and was only level par and Bickerton, who has to win, was one over. Those two had yet to resume.

McGinley was playing with compatriot Padraig Harrington, whose position at ninth in the table was looking increasingly secure as he birdied the 11th and 12th to be on four under.

Although his pitch to the 16th spun back in the water short of the green and he bogeyed he was on course to seal his spot today as McGinley needed to finish in the top six if Harrington was to drop out.

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