Westwood still has sniff of Masters victory

Augusta (Georgia): Lee Westwood, hunting his first major title, still has a "slight sniff" of victory at the Masters after ending Saturday`s third round five strokes off the lead.

The British world number three ground out an even-par 72 at Augusta National, briefly holding a share of the lead, but his momentum stalled with untimely bogeys, one of them after a missed putt from just 18 inches at the ninth.

"I didn`t quite have it today. I made too many mistakes," Westwood told reporters after offsetting four birdies with four bogeys to post a four-under total of 212. "That was a bad bogey at nine, missed a short one left.

"I bogeyed some holes that should have been birdie and missed a couple of short putts.

"But four under with the lead at nine still has a slight sniff, if I get it going early on and make a few birdies. I`m just going to hit a few balls now and find a bit of a swing."

Westwood, who has six times finished in the top three at majors, was especially frustrated by his bogeys at the par-three 12th and the par-five 13th.

"Those were bad bogeys," said the 38-year-old, who led by one shot after shooting a five-under 67 in Thursday`s opening round. "One of them you`re trying to birdie, the 13th, and the 12th is the easiest flag.

"I wasn`t hitting it too solid today which makes it difficult if you haven`t got the distance control."

Westwood, who finished second here in 2010 when he also opened with a 67, was reminded of the storming four-birdie finish by South African Charl Schwartzel to win last year`s Masters.

"This golf course gives you a chance if you`re playing well," the Briton said. "You`ve got the par-fives, especially the par-fives on the back nine. They`ve got the flags set so you can make a couple of eagles."

Westwood lies joint sixth going into Sunday`s final round, five shots behind pacesetting Swede Peter Hanson and four adrift of three-times champion Phil Mickelson.

Bureau Report