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Four top leaderboard heading in to Sunday

Briton Lee Westwood, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Spaniards Miguel Angel Jimenez and Alvaro Quiros shared the lead after the Dubai Desert Classic third round on Saturday.

Defending Dubai champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland birdied the last to end the day in fifth place, two shots adrift on nine under par on the Emirates Club course.

Westwood moved into position for a first win of the season, just over two months since he captured the Dubai World Championship and a second European number one crown.

Westwood, 36, carded a four-under-par 68 that included three birdies in a five-hole run from the 11th hole.

The six-times European Ryder Cup player was in a similar situation heading into last week’s final round of the Qatar Masters as he bids to add to his 20 European Tour wins.

“I’m in contention and that gets me buzzing and excited,” Westwood told reporters.

“That’s why you practise. You put in the hard work to try to get into contention and win tournaments and prove yourself under pressure.

“Also, my equipment is more in order this week. This time last week, I was just off the lead but with no driver. So I’m feeling a lot better.”

Westwood said he planned to shut out his rivals with a round like his closing 64 in November to win by six shots on the nearby Jumeirah Estate.

“I am going to try and do what I did at the Dubai World Championship, go out and shoot the lowest number of the day.”

Jaidee snatched back-to-back birdies at his eighth and ninth holes to establish a three-stroke leading cushion before the current Asian Tour No. 1 stalled over his inward half with nine straight pars.

“No, I am not disappointed to have finished with the outright lead as in golf you never know,” he said.

“I made pars and didn’t make bogeys, so that is fine.

“Tomorrow is one more day and I am very close. So maybe I have a good chance tomorrow of winning.”

The former Thai paratrooper is no stranger to getting the jump on his rivals as the 40-year old has won 14 times in Asian and twice been crowned Asian number one.



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