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Paul Casey joins Bradley Dredge in share of lead

Paul Casey fired a sublime 66 to grab a share of the lead with fellow Briton Bradley Dredge in the third round of the Qatar Masters on Saturday.

Casey, five shots off the pace on Friday, carded seven birdies and a bogey to finish the round on 10-under-par 206.

Dredge survived a double bogey on the fifth by hitting five birdies to score 70 as he and Casey opened up a one shot lead going into Sunday’s final round.

England’s Lee Westwood was forced to change his driver mid-round after it cracked but kept his focus to card a 70. He lies third on nine under par.

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (70) and overnight leader Australia’s Brett Rumford (73) were a further shot adrift.

Casey was especially delighted with his round of 66 as he had missed the Doha cut in all three of his previous appearances.

“This is my best round around this golf course in four years of trying, so I can’t say a bad thing about it.”

But while he was pleased to top the leaderboard, Casey said he had not regained full fitness after being sidelined late last year with a rib injury.

“I’ll go 95, which is almost 100, isn’t it?” he asked.

“The only thing I feel right now is tightness in the back but it’s been a good test this week because the rough is thick.

“The only reason it’s 95 percent is I don’t feel I’ve got complete range of motion back yet but I haven’t held back on any shot.

“I’ll give it another couple of weeks and there’s no reason why I can’t be 100 percent.”

Welshman Dredge is looking to snap a three-year barren run and is hoping his Dubai run will also improve his chances of landing a place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team.

“To play in the Ryder Cup in Wales is a once in a lifetime opportunity, for all of the Welsh guys, not just myself, with the Ryder Cup being in Wales,” he said.

“I want to perform my best this year and give myself a chance.”

Dredge added his decision to train during the off season in Spain is now paying off with his promising run in the Middle East.

“I would normally take four weeks off over the winter, so this year I took two weeks off where I didn’t touch a club,” he said.

“I spent the other two weeks practising on my game in Spain as I was very aware that I wanted to come into these events with my game as good as it could possibly could be.”

Westwood was aware something was wrong with his driver when his downwind tee shot at the 10th hole carried some 270-yards instead of the expected 300 yards.

He still birdied the 10th and 11th holes before calling for a rules official to inspect his driver and was given permission to replace the damaged club.

“It’s not the sort of situation you want thrown at you coming down the few closing holes where if you are looking to make a few birdies, and you could have a two-shot or a three shot lead,” said Westwood, who lost his way slightly with a bogey in the 15th.

“It’s just unfortunate because I really liked that driver.

“But then I am only one shot behind, so it’s a good position to be in.”



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