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Westwood lurking with intent at KLM Open

Lee Westwood of England hits his tee shot on the 2nd hole during day 3 of the European Tour KLM Open held at The Dutch on September 16, 2017 in Spijk, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Lee Westwood of England hits his tee shot on the 2nd hole during day 3 of the European Tour KLM Open held at The Dutch on September 16, 2017 in Spijk, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Kiradech Aphibarnrat holed a 25 foot birdie putt on the 18th to snatch a one shot lead going into the final round of the KLM Open, with Lee Westwood lurking among the chasing pack looking to catch the talented Thai in Sunday’s final round.

The 28 year old Aphibarnrat led for much of the third round, but spurned several good birdie chances on the back nine at The Dutch and seemed to have paid the price for his profligacy when he was caught by France’s Romain Wattel.

However, that fine birdie at the last gave Aphibarnrat a round of 66 and a 14 under par total – one ahead of Wattel; two clear of Frenchman Joel Stalter and three clear of Westwood, German Sebastien Heisele and Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren.

Wattel has a chance to end his wait for a first European Tour title after a flawless 64, having twice been a European Tour runner-up and with 25 top-ten finishes to his name.

Westwood, meanwhile, is looking to add a 24th European Tour title to an incredible career that has seen the 44 year old win in more countries around the world than any other golfer. The Englishman is seeking a second KLM Open title, having won the event for the first time in 1999.

Player quotes

Kiradech Aphibarnrat: “I didn’t drop any shots today which is so important when you are trying to get to the top of the leaderboard. My putting was brilliant on the front nine today and that save me a few shots. Overall I am feeling good and tomorrow I just need to try and stick to my game plan. If I can play the same tomorrow then I will have a great chance to win.

“It’s always nice to be the last group in the final round and especially here with so many fans out here supporting us. This is my first trip to The Netherlands and I am loving it. The amount of people out here, even though the weather has been terrible, shows how much. It’s a pleasure to play in front of crowds like that and I just want to thank all the fans for their support.”

Romain Wattel: “I’m delighted, I played very good today. I just tried to play my own game and I made some good putts which is what I did. That was my lowest round of the season and it has come at a good time because I need to start getting some good results.

“The game, it’s just up and down. I’ve been doing my best this year but it hasn’t been enough. I’ve been working with my coach and changed many things, but when you work a lot you don’t always get what you expect.”

Joel Stalter: “It was a tougher day today – I think there is always more pressure on a Saturday and the pins were tougher today and I didn’t hit my irons as well as yesterday. But it wasn’t a disaster and I still played pretty solid so I am happy overall and still have a great chance to win.

“The last time I was in that position (leading going into the weekend) in Munich at the start of the summer I didn’t play well so today was a big improvement and as I said before I still have a great chance to win tomorrow and I’ll give it my best shot to try and do that.”

Lee Westwood: “I made a pretty slow start today – I three putted the fifth for bogey but managed to make a birdie straight away on the six and from there I really just started chipping away and trying to get back into it which I managed to do thankfully. I played nicely again and am very happy with how I am striking the ball. I just need a few more putts to drop tomorrow.

“It was nice to birdie the last and get closer to the leaders and it was nice to give the crowd something to cheer. They’ve been brilliant this week, as they always are in Holland, but given the conditions this week you have to salute the fans.

“I haven’t been in contention for a while really so it feels pretty good to be up there going into the final round. I’m sure I’ll remember what to do when the time comes.”

Complete round three scores

199 K Aphibarnrat (Tha) 68 65 66,

200 R Wattel  (Fra) 69 67 64,

201 J Stalter (Fra) 65 67 69,

202 S Heisele (Ger) 66 68 68, L Westwood (Eng) 70 65 67, J Lagergren (Swe) 67 65 70,

204 A Connelly (Can) 71 67 66, M Manassero (Ita) 68 68 68, J Walters (RSA) 72 67 65, G Coetzee (RSA) 69 67 68,

205 R Finch  (Eng) 66 67 72, M Wallace (Eng) 68 68 69,

206 B Wiesberger  (Aut) 66 69 71, W Ashun (Chn) 67 68 71, E Pepperell (Eng) 69 68 69,

207 M Pavon (Fra) 68 69 70, F Zanotti (Par) 70 70 67, P Dunne (Irl) 74 68 65, J Lima  (Por) 70 68 69, M Ilonen  (Fin) 69 70 68, S Manley (Wal) 71 68 68, C Wood  (Eng) 70 69 68, C Pigem  (Esp) 72 67 68, C Hanson (Eng) 68 71 68, P Hanson (Swe) 70 69 68, M Carlsson  (Swe) 72 68 67,

208 D Frittelli (RSA) 70 69 69, D Perrier (Fra) 69 70 69, B Evans  (Eng) 72 69 67, M Korhonen (Fin) 67 71 70, J Scrivener (Aus) 70 68 70, C Berardo (Fra) 69 72 67, W Ormsby (Aus) 74 68 66, R Bland (Eng) 71 67 70,

209 D Stewart (Sco) 71 68 70, J Carlsson (Swe) 75 67 67, W Besseling  (Ned) 70 69 70, D Brooks (Eng) 69 71 69, F Fritsch  (Ger) 71 70 68, T Sinnott (Aus) 68 73 68, R Fisher (Eng) 73 68 68, M Warren (Sco) 69 67 73, J Suri (USA) 70 68 71, P Widegren  (Swe) 68 72 69, T Detry  (Bel) 75 66 68,

210 M Kieffer (Ger) 69 69 72, O Fisher  (Eng) 72 68 70, D Burmester (RSA) 77 65 68, R Ramsay  (Sco) 70 72 68, D Horsey (Eng) 76 66 68,

211 P Angles  (Esp) 68 70 73, R Dinwiddie  (Eng) 69 69 73, A Björk (Swe) 73 65 73,

212 P Harrington (Irl) 72 70 70, J Fahrbring (Swe) 69 73 70, D Huizing (Ned) 69 71 72, M Albertus (Ned) 69 70 73, A Otaegui  (Esp) 71 71 70,

213 A Chesters  (Eng) 70 70 73, P Maddy (Eng) 69 69 75, A Cañizares  (Esp) 72 70 71, R Fox (Nzl) 71 71 71, A Wall (Eng) 70 69 74,

214 R Miller (Ned) 73 69 72, J Edfors (Swe) 68 74 72, J Ahlers (RSA) 72 69 73, N Fasth (Swe) 69 72 73, G Storm  (Eng) 70 72 72, S Brazel (Aus) 73 67 74,

215 J Campillo (Esp) 76 66 73, S Gros (Fra) 75 66 74,