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November 21, 2009

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Westwood fires ahead of McIlroy

LEE Westwood took advantage of a couple of putting errors by money-list rival Rory McIlroy to grab a two-shot lead after the second round of the season-ending Dubai World Championship yesterday.

Westwood birdied the 18th, a tough par-five, to shoot a 3 under-69 for a 9-under tally of 135.

Fellow Briton McIlroy (69) shared second spot on 137 with overnight leader Robert Allenby of Australia (72), Colombian Camilo Villegas (71), South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen (66), Briton Ross McGowan (66) and Ireland's Padraig Harrington (69).

Triple major winner Harrington twice found water as he carded a double-bogey seven at the last hole.

"I didn't even know there was a water hazard left of the green," the Irishman told reporters. "I'm glad it's not Sunday when I did it but Friday."

Westwood, second behind Race to Dubai money-list leader McIlroy, was two shots adrift of his young rival after the Northern Irishman powered to the turn in 31 with three birdies and an eagle three courtesy of a superb approach to three feet at the seventh.

However, missed putts of three and two feet for bogeys on 14 and 15 meant the 20-year-old McIlroy handed the initiative back to the Englishman.

Like McIlroy, Westwood opened with two birdies in a row but then saw several chances go begging until he closed with two birdies in the last three holes.

"It was a case of patience being a virtue and all good things coming to those who wait," said Westwood, 36, after rounding off his day by sinking a 20-foot putt.

The 2000 European No. 1 was unaware he had been overtaken by McIlroy midway through the round because he has decided not to look at course leaderboards this week.

"I'm trying to win the Dubai World Championship so there's no room for thinking about what anyone else is doing, there's not enough room in my head for that," said Westwood.

McIlroy tried his best to blot out his two putting mistakes.

"I had a perfect front nine and then missed a couple of short putts but I still think I'm playing well enough to give myself a shot at the title," he said.

"I shouldn't dwell on missed opportunities."

The two other players who can take the order of merit crown on Sunday, Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher, were well off the pace.

A 71 helped German Kaymer finish on 2 under-142 while Briton Fisher was on 144 after another 71 at the end of play yesterday.


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