Cool Westwood holds off hot Mickelson

Lee Westwood (SUPPLIED)

Britain's Lee Westwood maintained ice-cool composure while fending off an electrifying back-nine charge by Phil Mickelson to take a one-shot lead after Saturday's third round of the US Masters.

While Tiger Woods clawed his way back into contention after losing his cool early on, Westwood fired a four-under-par 68 in glorious spring sunshine at Augusta National to post a 12-under total of 204. Mickelson, a two-time Masters champion, carded a 67 to lie second with world number one Woods and his playing partner KJ Choi of South Korea a further stroke back at eight under after carding matching 70s.

"It was probably one of those great days in golf at a major championship," Westwood told reporters after a well-crafted round featuring five birdies and a lone bogey at the 12th. Mickelson, Masters champion in 2004 and 2006, treated the Augusta galleries to one of the most spectacular exhibitions of golf seen at the year's opening Major.

He became only the third player to record successive eagles when he holed out from 141 yards at the par-four 14th, his ball pitching six feet beyond the hole before rolling back down the slope into the cup.

Mickelson, who had knocked in a six-footer to eagle the par-five 13th, raised his arms skywards in disbelief.


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