Francesco Molinari will take a one-stroke lead over Lee Westwood into the final round of the HSBC Champions as the Europeans dominated day three.
And moments later, new world number one Westwood matched his playing partner to move within a shot at 13 under.
Fellow Englishman Luke Donald lies third on 10 under, while Tiger Woods is back on three under after a 73. «It was not a very good day,» said the American, who is almost certain to end a year without a title for the first time in his career. «I missed a lot of makeable putts, and didn’t hit the ball very well. I just never got anything going.»
With Woods struggling, Martin Kaymer 12 shots off the lead and Phil Mickelson 13 strokes back, Westwood is all but assured of retaining the number one status he achieved for the first time last week.
«All in all, I’m obviously very happy,» said Molinari. «To still be one in front of Lee going into Sunday, it’s a really good position and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.»
Westwood, too, was well satisfied with his form going into the final day.
«I think it’s the best I’ve played all week,» he said. «That’s the most pleasing thing. Gradually things are getting better and I got into it more. I gave myself a lot of good chances today.»
Westwood was again asked after his round about reaching the top of the world rankings without having yet won one of the sport’s four major titles.
«A lot of people get confused about the rankings,» said the Englishman. «A lot of people get confused about major championships and who is the most consistent player in the world.
«I know that I haven’t won a major championship. I’m very well aware of that. But I do know I’ve probably played the most consistent golf in the world over the last two years, and that reflects in my world ranking.»
Third round leaderboard:
-14 F Molinari (Ita)
-13 L Westwood (Eng)
-10 L Donald (Eng)
-8 R Ramsay (Sco), R Fisher (Eng), E Els (RSA)
-7 J Van Zyl (RSA)Selected others:
-6 P Harrington (Ire)
-5 P Casey (Eng)
-3 T Woods (US), R McIlroy (NI), I Poulter (Eng)
-1 M Kaymer (Ger)