Lee Westwood holds one-shot lead over Laporta and Wiesberger in Abu Dhabi

Lee Westwood equalled his career-best round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after carding eight birdies with a single bogey to score a 7-under 65 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, a shot clear of Italian Francesco Laporta and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger into the final round.

The Englishman produced the shot of the week so far to set up an eagle on the par five eighth that moved him to 14 under par.

“I am pretty excited,” said Westwood. “It’s always a bonus to be in contention, and that’s basically why we come out here. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t play a lot of golf coming into it. Didn’t know what to expect. To be in the lead with one round to go or could be tied for the lead when the other lads finish, it’s a real positive.”

Westwood ended a four year hunt for a European Tour title with an emotional victory at the 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player, and the former World Number One would take his tally to a remarkable 25 wins with a triumph at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Wiesberger finished with three birdies in a 65 of his own as he looks to become the first player to win three different Rolex Series events, while Laporta followed up his second round 63 with a 69 to join him at 13 under par.

“Very pleased with today’s work,” said Wiesberger. “Obviously at the end it was a little bit wayward at the last but glad to hole a nice putt on the last green to come home in 65, and it was quite good.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick is in fourth place at 12 under par, one shot clear of Major Champion Sergio Garcia and American Kurt Kitayama.

Belgian Thomas Detry and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello are at ten under par, with English pair Ross Fisher and Jack Senior, South Africans Zander Lombard and Louis Oosthuizen and Germany’s Sebastian Heisele a shot further back.

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