GULLANE, Scotland — Lee Westwood is positioned to win the first major title of his career.
Boy, does that sound familiar.
Long considered one of the best players without a signature win on his resume, the Englishman curled in a 60-foot eagle putt on the way to a 1-under 70 Saturday that put him two strokes ahead of Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan at the British Open.
The 40-year-old Westwood has been a perennial contender in majors, finishing second or third a staggering seven times.
But he’s never been able to finish the job.
He’ll try to do it Sunday at baked-out Muirfield, playing in the final group with Mahan.
Woods will be in the next-to-last pairing after shooting 72, a stumble at the end leaving him two shots behind Westwood’s 54-hole total of 3-under 210.
“I’m hoping it’s going to turn out differently because I haven’t won one yet and I’d like to win one,” Westwood said. “But what can you do? You can only do what you think is right and put all that practice and hard work you’ve done tomorrow, try not to get in your own way mentally and just focus on the job at hand and believe you’re good enough.”
They are the only three players under par for the championship.
Adam Scott is again a contender for the claret jug, though this time he’ll have to come from behind. Last year, he seemed to have it wrapped up at Lytham until he bogeyed the final four holes, a stunning collapse that left him one stroke behind Ernie Els.
Scott matched Westwood’s 70 and was at 213.
Miguel Angel Jimenez, the popular 36-hole leader, faded from contention on a miserable day. The Mechanic bogeyed four of the first eight holes, unable to scramble for pars as he did the first two days when his drives and iron shots got away from him. He limited the damage with birdies at the ninth and 13th, but things can turn quickly at Muirfield.
Jimenez bogeyed the 14th, took a double-bogey at the 16th when he needed two swings to escape a towering pot bunker alongside the green, and a lipped-out putt on 17 gave him another bogey. The 49-year-old staggered to the finish with a 77 and 216 total, his one-shot lead after Friday now a six-shot deficit going to Sunday.
Woods has never won any of his 14 major titles when trailing after three rounds. He had never lost one from that position, either, until Y.E. Yang pulled off a stunning upset at Hazeltine nearly four years ago.