Westwood among four co-leaders in Dubai

RSS

2009 European TourDUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Reigning European Tour No. 1 Lee Westwood shot a 4-under 68 and was among four co-leaders Saturday after the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

Alvaro Quiros (67), Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) and Thongchai Jaidee (69) joined Westwood at 11-under 205 after three trips around the Emirates course.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy (69) is two shots off their lead and alone in fifth place at 9-under 207.

Rory McIlroy
Defending champion Rory McIlroy sits two back. (Getty Images)
Edoardo Molinari (70) and Marcus Fraser (70) are tied at 8-under 208 and Abu Dhabi winner Martin Kaymer (68) is at 7-under 209.

The four co-leaders have 42 combined European Tour wins between them.

Westwood is tops among them with 20 victories, including last year's Dubai World Championship, which clinched the year-long Race to Dubai title for the 36-year-old Englishman as the season's top money winner.

He earned his share of the lead after making four birdies on the back nine Saturday, including one at the 18th hole. Westwood collected five birdies and a single bogey during the round.

Jimenez, with 15 career wins, also made a strong run on the back side of the course. He posted four birdies during a seven-hole stretch ending at the 17th to reach 11 under. The 46-year-old Spaniard is the eldest of the co-leaders and is seeking his first victory in two years.

Jaidee, 40, made three birdies on the front nine as he fought to protect his third-round lead. But the former Thai Army ranger, a four-time winner on tour, finished the round with nine consecutive pars to join the other co-leaders.

Quiros, an emerging star who has captured a victory in each of the last three seasons, carded five birdies in a spotless round. The 27-year-old Spaniard made back-to-back birdies at his last two holes and was the first player in the clubhouse at 205. Quiros took second place last week in Qatar.

NOTES: Sixty-year-old Tom Watson shot a 71 and is nine shots off the lead...Watson is playing his first European Tour event (not counting the four majors) since 1993.