Completed: Albatross Golf ResortAug 21-24

Czech Masters

Scheduled: Circolo Golf TorinoAug 28-31

Italia Open

Howell heads to the front

Westwood suffers injury on way to first tee, ends up shooting 76

Last Updated: 07/07/12 5:53pm

  • Share:
David Howell: managed birdies at the 14th and 16th to move to six under par

David Howell: managed birdies at the 14th and 16th to move to six under par

Sky Bet

David Howell enjoyed a welcome return to form on another weather-hit day at the Alstom French Open, his 67 on Saturday moving him into a share of the lead after the third round.

Englishman Howell, who has dropped to 350 in the world rankings, managed birdies at the 14th and 16th to push himself firmly into contention shortly before play was halted by a thunderstorm for the second day running.

Third round leaderboard

(GB & Ire unless stated)

-6 D Howell
-6 A Hansen (Den)
-5 G Coetzee (SA)
-4 F Molinari (Ita)
-4 R Jacquelin (Fra)

Click here for collated scores

Anders Hansen and George Coetzee were leading the way at that stage, but both men struggled when they returned to the course.

Hansen of Denmark bogeyed the 16th and 17th to leave himself in a share for top spot with Howell on six under, while South African Coetzee three-putted both the 16th and 18th to sit one back.

Halfway leader Marcel Siem of Germany shot 73 to fall back to joint fourth with Raphael Jacquelin, who is the leading hope for a home winner of the event.

Injury scare

Lee Westwood, meanwhile, endured a day to forget, picking up an injury just before teeing off and then firing a 76, his worst score on the European Tour for over three years.

"I slipped on wooden sleepers down the side of the cart path. My left foot went forward about two feet and my right foot stayed where it was."
Lee Westwood Quotes of the week

The world No.3 tweaked a knee and strained a groin when he slipped walking to the first at Le Golf National. He double-bogeyed the opening hole and bogeyed the next five, but with the pain easing he managed to play the remaining 12 holes in two under.

"I was talking to Richard Sterne's caddie and not looking where I was going," Westwood, who now sits tied for 58th on five over, told Sky Sports.

"I slipped on wooden sleepers down the side of the cart path. My left foot went forward about two feet and my right foot stayed where it was.

"It felt like I strained something at the top of my right leg and tweaked my right knee as well.

"It seems to have eased off, but I am still a little bit wary of it. I felt if it stopped it might make it worse by seizing up, so I thought it was better to keep it moving.

"I didn't try to overdo it over the first few holes, but lost everything to the right - I couldn't put any weight on it. I don't know what I've done to it."

Wooden sleepers also played a part in Howell's round, albeit in a beneficial way. His approach to the last only just carried the lake, landing on the sleepers and bounding forward on to the green.

Perfect Saturday

He made the most of the lucky break to get a par and complete what he described afterwards as a "perfect Saturday".

"It was a great round," said the 37-year-old former Ryder Cup star. "Setting off in the top 10 you don't want to go backward. You want to move yourself into contention and that's the perfect Saturday.

"I had a nice bit of luck at the last. The seven-iron was my one really poor shot, but it went my way today and it scrambled over the water.

"I'm a long way from where I once was, but I've made six cuts in a row and it's been a long time since I've been able to say that.

"Obviously I don't measure success on cuts made, but it's good for the confidence."

Meanwhile, a second successive 69 means Ian Poulter sits on two under, the same score as fellow Englishman David Lynn, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, American Brendan Steele and Swedes Henrik Stenson and Alexander Noren.

Justin Rose (68) and Graeme McDowell (71) are in a sizeble group a further shot back while European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal is on level par after signing for a 70.

  • Share:

Related

French Open 2012

Marcel Siem: First win in Europe for eight years

Siem strikes in French Open

Germany's Marcel Siem carded a final round 67 to win the French Open at Le Golf National by a shot.

Marcel Siem: German has only one previous victory on European Tour

Siem leads by one in Paris

Marcel Siem took over at the top at the Alstom French Open in Paris on a day which saw a dramatic collapse from Lee Westwood.

Ian Poulter in action during the second round of the French Open at Le Golf National

Poults blasts Paris set-up

Ian Poulter hit out at the set-up of the course for this week's French Open, despite keeping his title hopes alive with a second-round 69.

Most Popular

Features

McGinley's dilemma

McGinley's dilemma

As the race for Ryder Cup places reaches its climax, we assess the European players vying for a wildcard.

Hunter's gathering

Hunter's gathering

Hunter Mahan is in the mix for a Ryder Cup place after his win at The Barclays, says Andrew Coltart.

Good Week/Bad Week

Good Week/Bad Week

So much can change in a sporting week and, sure enough, there have been plenty of highs and lows.