Wales Leads World Cup by Two


2005 Algarve World Cup in PortugalVILAMOURA, Portugal -- Wales broke out of the three-way tie atop the leaderboard in Saturday's best ball with an 11-under 61 to grab first at the World Golf Championships - World Cup. Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge stand at 27-under-par 189 and are two clear of defending champion England and Sweden.
Luke Donald
Luke Donald and partner David Howell of England are just two strokes back heading into the final round.
Luke Donald, who won this title with Paul Casey last year, and David Howell combined for a 9-under 63 in the third round. Sweden's pair of Niclas Fasth and Henrik Stenson birdied five in a row on the back nine to also post a 63. The two countries are knotted at 25-under-par 191.
The French tandem of Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin matched Wales for low round of the day honors on Saturday. They paired for an 11-under 61 and are alone in fourth place at minus-22.
Saturday offered different weather conditions for the teams. Through the first two rounds, bright skies and low winds greeted the players at the Victoria Clube de Golfe Course at Vilamoura. Saturday saw rain and gloomy skies, but that did not hike scores much in this format.
Wales, which began the third round tied for the lead with England and Sweden, birdied four holes in a row from the second to keep pace with the English duo, who also birdied holes 2-5 in the group ahead.
England birdied seven and eight, but so too did the Welsh team, leaving the countries knotted at 22 under par. Sweden was only 3 under par in its round through the eight holes and trailed by three.
Wales and England continued to trade the lead on the second nine. Donald ran home a 4-footer for birdie at the 12th to pull one ahead, but Dredge holed a 6-foot birdie putt in the next group to tie England.
Both England and Wales birdied 14, as both Howell and Dredge drained 10- footers. One hole earlier, Sweden made birdie, but still trailed by three.
The short, par-4 15th proved to be a crucial hole. Donald sank a 3-foot birdie putt to move his team to 25 under par. Both Dredge and Dodd reached the fringe short of the green off the tee. Dodd lagged his eagle try to tap-in birdie range, but Dredge curled in his 30-footer for eagle to move one clear of England.
Sweden ascended the leaderboard with a birdie at 15, then Stenson knocked it stiff off the tee at 16. He kicked in his birdie putt to get Sweden within two at 24 under par.
Both Donald and Howell missed birdie tries inside 4 feet at the par-5 17th that could have tied them with Wales. When Dredge went in the water right of the green at the same hole, Dodd helped his partner. He reached the green in two, then two-putted from 40 feet for a birdie that put his side two clear of England and Sweden, as Fasth rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt at 17.
Howell had a decent look at birdie at the last, but missed. Dredge once again found water at 18, but Dodd once again picked him up. Dodd two-putted from 30 feet to preserve their lead, but Fasth had a good chance to cut into it. The Swede hit his approach to 7 feet, but his birdie chance never fell.
That meant Wales will have a comfortable lead with one round of foursomes, or alternate shot, to go on Sunday.
'Today was obviously a good day for us,' said Dodd, a two-time winner on the European Tour in the 2005 season. 'We played great in patches, which is what you need to do in this format. We're just going to have to play well, whatever the format is.'
If Wales can hang on Sunday and hoist the trophy, it will be the second title in the country's history. Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam and David Llewellyn captured the title in 1987.
England will try to become the first country to successfully defend its title since Tiger Woods led Mark O'Meara and David Duval to back-to-back wins for the United States in 1999 and 2000.
'All in all, it's not disastrous,' said Howell, who admitted his side was bothering him on Saturday. 'Foursomes tomorrow, with the title on the line, is going to make it interesting. We fancy our chances.'
Sweden, like Wales, has claimed victory at this event only once - in 1991 when Anders Forsbrand and Per-Ulrik Johansson visited the winner's circle.
Denmark shot a 9-under 63 on Saturday and is alone in fifth place at minus-21. The team from the Netherlands posted a 6-under 66 and is tied for sixth place with Argentina, which established a new tournament foursomes record on Friday with a 61. Angel Cabrera, who favored his wrist on Saturday, and Ricardo Gonzalez teamed for a 5-under 67 to join the Netherlands at 20-under-par 196.
Germany (64) is in eighth at 19-under-par 197, followed by India (65), which is one stroke further back at minus-18.
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