GOLF: Graeme McDowell chasing down British Masters leader Alex Noren
Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell will feed off their different Ryder Cup disappointments as they attempt to reel in Sweden's Alex Noren in the final round of the British Masters.
Noren, who is chasing a third European Tour title of the season, carded a third round of 65 at The Grove to finish 16 under par, three shots clear of halfway leader Richard Bland.
Peter Hanson, Tommy Fleetwood, Bernd Wiesberger and Richard Sterne were all on 12 under par, with Westwood and Germany’s Marcel Siem a shot further back and McDowell another stroke adrift.
McDowell failed to qualify for the Ryder Cup and was overlooked for a wild card, but made himself watch the action on TV to boost his motivation to make the team in 2018.
“I made myself watch it because I love it, but also because I wanted it to hurt,” McDowell, who won back-to-back French Open titles at 2018 venue Le Golf National, said after a 67 marred by a three-putt bogey on the 18th.
“I needed to watch those guys and realise I want to be one of them again. I still believe I am a top-10 player in the world and I have to start working like that, acting like that and trusting in my game.”
Former world number one Westwood feels he let down good friend and Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke after failing to win any of his three matches as Europe suffered their heaviest defeat for 35 years at Hazeltine.
The 43-year-old then missed the cut in last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, thanks largely to a second round of 82 at Kingsbarns, but carded a flawless 67 on Saturday to remain in contention for a 24th European Tour victory.
“You have to be able to forget stuff and move on,” Westwood said. “You can only try your hardest and if that’s not good enough you move on to the next tournament and try to do well from there.
“I played well today and gave myself lots of chances, but you have to stay patient. You look at this course and think, ‘I can shoot really low here’, but if you don’t treat it right and lose patience you can make bogeys quite easily.
“I didn’t make a bogey, which was nice, and it was a good, solid, professional performance all round.”
Bland, who is seeking a first European Tour title at the 395th attempt, quickly doubled his overnight lead thanks to birdies on the first two holes, but dropped his first shot of the week on the fourth after finding sand off the tee.
Noren drew level with a birdie on the sixth and moved in front with another on the 10th, before three more in the last four holes stretched his advantage.