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For the second time in as many weeks, Lee Westwood is the 54-hole leader going into the final round of a PGA Tour event – and, like last week, he’ll have Bryson DeChambeau for company on Sunday.
The Englishman, 47, carded a four-under 68 to increase his PLAYERS Championship lead from one shot at halfway to two shots with 18 holes remaining at TPC Sawgrass.
That puts him in pole position to win the tour’s flagship event and exact some revenge on DeChambeau, who overhauled him to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last weekend.
Should he win, Westwood would become the second oldest winner in the event’s history, behind 2005 champion Fred Funk. However, whilst acknowledging that it would be the biggest win of his career, he’s refusing to get ahead of himself.
“We’ll see tomorrow what my advantages are, if I can apply myself properly,” he said. The advantage I have right now is the two shots.
“But at the same time, I can’t go out there and be defensive. I’ve got to still go out there and play my game, be aggressive at times, be defensive at other times, and just do the right things whenever possible and go through the correct processes. Don’t get carried away with the situation and just try and do the best I can on each hole.”
He added: “I don’t like to compare the Lee Westwood of ten years ago or twenty years ago to the Lee Westwood of today. I’m certainly having as much fun on the golf course as I’ve ever had, and that probably is helping me play some great golf.”
The standout moment from Westwood’s round came at the notorious par-3 17th. Fresh from a birdie at 16, the Englishman found the so-called ‘island green’ at 17 before draining a 25-foot downhill putt that broke hard from left to right.
Check out the footage…
DeChambeau, meanwhile, carded a five-under 67 to vault into contention for a second consecutive PGA Tour win.
“This is a chance that I’ve wanted my entire life,” said the 27-year-old. “Growing up watching The PLAYERS, and finally having this opportunity is going to be something special.”
The American is also relishing going toe-to-toe with Westwood for the second Sunday on the spin and is in no doubt as to what the secret is behind the Englishman’s career renaissance – his fiancée and caddie, Helen Storey.
“She’s keeping him steady and level headed and she’s a rock,” said DeChambeau. “She keeps his mind focused on the right things, and she’s been awesome for him. That’s one of his secret weapons, I think.”
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